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They are stealing nation’s resources

THE recently published “bribes” for ex-combatants prior to the forthcoming election in Zimbabwe, was very interesting – breathtaking in fact. When will Zimbabweans put a blunt and democratic stop to this madness?

I was born in Harare on February 17 1949 at Lady Chancellor (now Mbuya Nehanda Hospital), as were each of my three children – one in Rhodesia, one in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and one in Zimbabwe.

All of my kids consider themselves to be “born free” – even if they are “white” Zimbabweans. Now we are all in forced exile in the UK.

To see how the former guerillas are permitted to continue manipulating Zanu PF and, through its criminal structure, continue stealing Zimbabwe’s diminishing resources, is worse than scandalous.

What is happening is being watched. There will be a day of reckoning eventually! These tsotsis who see themselves as above the law now will one day find themselves very much dealt with by it. That goes for the top hierarchy too.

The former guerillas should have been rewarded and pensioned but it must have been a one-off deal. To allow them to keep on holding a financial bullet to the nation is not only insane, it is patently criminal.

These thugs will be held accountable one day. There is a saying in English: “What goes around, comes around.”

Whilst having grown up within the privilege of white colonial Rhodesia as a family, we chose to stay in the new “reconciled” Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe to contribute to the new regime of equality.

Not only has Zanu PF destroyed my career and life in Zimbabwe, forcing me to migrate to England.

Now that I am externally-based, I have watched Mugabe and the Jongwe octopus wrap its tentacles around my dear country and systematically and deliberately strangle, rape, torture, steal it, and nowadays kill our country.

This must stop before our nation dies.

* worked for Zimbabwe for 22 years as a career civil servant in the Customs & Excise departement. I stayed on at Independence in 1980 and progressed to the grade of assistant controller (director, these days I believe), responsible for the operations of Collector of Customs & Excise, Harare Port.

At the time, Obert Moses Mpofu (a presidential appointee) was my underling and when he went into politics, it was I who gave him a crash course on how to properly use his Togorev pistol – issued to him by “the party” for personal security (for he hadn’t a clue – so much for “hard” liberation movement credentials).

It was Mpofu who told me that his ascendancy in the political world was due to his relationship with Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He told me that he and Mnangagwa were related through their wives. Mpofu went into politics, in a Jongwe sort of way while I remained in my career. However, Mugabe, Mnangagwa, et al, destroyed that career.

I was wrongly labelled a South African spy, wrongly detained without trial for two years, and wrongly pensioned off (into a pension I no longer receive and which is almost worthless, anyway).

This was done to cover up criminal activities concerning regional luxury car thefts and smuggling north of South Africa, mandrax smuggling to SA and the Zimbabwe and Air India direct involvement in sanctions-busting fruit exports for the former apartheid regime via Harare Airport.

Certainly the time for change is long overdue. Zimbabweans desperately need to know about their chefs’ misdemeanours and to act to get these thugs off the levers of power.

The last time I received my pension in the UK of about £5 ($478) was in February 2003, over 18 months ago. This is quite scandalous.

I was force-retired (via Chikurubi) as a very senior civil servant; and yet I “officially” get a pittance which, actually, I do not get at all – because Zimbabwe is in the hands of self-serving leaders.

Anyway, I read recently about the war collaborators’ gratuity and pension scheme. It went like this:

* A bucket load of millions of dollars as a one-off gratuity; and

* More millions of dollars plus allowances as a pension for life.

I would like to know if I can exchange my now worthless civil service pension, which is non-index-linked and which the current regime doesn’t pay to anyone abroad anyway, for a former collaborator’s gratuity and pension scheme such as Zanu PF is mooting currently.

I believe the criteria are that one has to be Zimbabwean and have a proven record in the liberation war.

For me that is easy. Besides being born in Harare, my involvement in the liberation war can be verified from my RA/pay sheet at 2 Engineer Squadron.

The records will show that I was demobilised long after the election in Zimbabwe; that I was awarded three medals – the RGSM, the TRM and the ZIM – and that I was retained on nominal strength in the Zimbabwe National Army long after majority rule.

My military numbers are 48223 as an “other rank” national serviceman (ex 1966) and V3400 as a TA-commissioned officer.

Please could you send me the appropriate application forms so that I can apply for my slice of the ex-combatant’s cake before all the money is stolen again.

John V Austin,

Middlesex, England.

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