WAR veterans have congratulated President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF for winning the 2023 general election, but were quick to emphasise that he should address their welfare.
The war veterans urged all Zimbabweans to work together to tackle the plethora of problems affecting the country, saying they stand ready to engage all stakeholders to ensure a prosperous Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa and Zanu PF won the disputed election which was underlined by voter intimidation and serious logistical challenges, which saw voters in some parts of the country casting their ballot by night, raising a red flag from regional observers.
War veterans have been a vital cog in Zanu PF campaigns in past elections and have in some cases been accused of using brute force to bolster support for the ruling party, especially in the early 2000s.
However, they have constantly been at loggerheads with the government over their welfare, which has been deteriorating following the erosion of their pensions and monthly drawdowns due to hyperinflation.
In their message this week, war veterans congratulated Mnangagwa and called on the Zanu PF leader to incorporate them in efforts to overcome economic challenges facing the country.
“We extend our warmest congratulations to His Excellency President E.D. Mnangagwa on his re-election as the President of Zimbabwe. This resounding mandate from the people is a testament to President Mnangagwa’s commitment to improving the lives of Zimbabweans and advancing our nation’s progress. We express our unwavering support as he continues to steer Zimbabwe towards prosperity and unity,” read a statement by Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) interim executive committee’s publicity and information secretary, Edward Dube.
“. . . As a nation, we face numerous national obligations that lie ahead, obligations that transcend political affiliations and ethnic backgrounds. It is imperative that we approach these obligations with a unified spirit, ensuring that our decisions and actions are guided by the principles of inclusivity, fairness, and equality. Together, we can overcome challenges and build a Zimbabwe that embraces the diversity of its people while fostering an environment of mutual respect and cooperation.
“We acknowledge and appreciate the recognition of the critical role played by the liberation war veterans, as enshrined in the constitution and the accompanying implementation measures. The sacrifices and contributions of our war veterans have shaped the history of Zimbabwe and secured the freedoms we enjoy today. It is our duty to ensure their well-being, honour their service, and support their endeavours to improve their livelihoods. We stand together in recognising their invaluable role and upholding their rights.”
Dube said war veterans should be incorporated in the social, economic, and governance matrix of Zimbabwe.
“Their vast experiences, skills, and wisdom can significantly contribute to the development and progress of our nation. By actively including them in decision-making processes, creating opportunities for their participation, and ensuring their voices are heard, we can harness their potential and build a more inclusive and prosperous Zimbabwe,” he said.
“The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) is committed to shaping the national agenda for the future. We are dedicated to working collaboratively with all stakeholders, including the government, political parties, civil society organisations, and the private sector, to address critical issues, promote unity, and drive socio-economic development. We stand ready to contribute our insights, expertise, and experiences in shaping policies and initiatives that benefit all Zimbabweans.”