THE Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators and Ex-Political Detainees, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, has queried the number of registered former freedom fighters saying it has remained static even though a number of them have died over the years.
Rtd Col Dube told Bulawayo journalists last Friday that the ex-freedom fighters’ figures could be much lower.
“We’ve 34 000 registered war veterans but with the way they’re dying due to illness and old age, it’s difficult to ascertain their numbers. We also have 5 000 detainees and restrictees,” said Rtd Col Dube.
He said his Ministry was struggling to register war collaborators as the verification process was proving to be difficult.
He said war veterans allowances depended on the extent of injuries suffered during the country’s war of independence.
“I can’t tell you how much each one gets from the war veterans pension. It depends on the percentage of incapacitation. Some were five percent, others 20 percent and others lost both their legs and they’re given about 80 percent,” he said.
Rtd Col Dube said the Government remains committed to paying school fees for war veterans’ children.
He said about a month ago, Treasury released about $6 million to pay school fees for ex-combatants’ children.
“When you talk about $6 million, you’ll think I have a lot of money. But no I don’t even touch a single cent of it. The money is released by Treasury to the relevant authorities who then dispatch to schools. It doesn’t come through our Ministry,” said Rtd Col Dube.
He challenged journalists to desist from using inflammatory language when reporting saying it was destructive for the nation.
Rtd Col Dube said there was a lot of sensationalism when reporting about Gukurahundi, a development he said was retrogressive. chronicle