BY SILAS NKALA ZIPRA war veterans have criticised last month’s non-combatant vetting process, saying it fell short of their expectations due to poor publicity of the exercise by the government.
The non-combatants include ex-political prisoners, detainees, restrictees and war collaborators.
They were vetted last month in a very chaotic process which resulted in a female ex-combatant Nomathani Moyo (66) dying in a queue in Elangeni Training Centre in Bulawayo awaiting her turn to be vetted.
Zipra ex-combatants in Bulawayo on Wednesday conducted a post-mortem meeting for the vetting programme.
They said they identified many shortcomings and recommended that the process be extended.
Petros Sibanda, the Zipra Veterans Association secretary-general told Southern Eye that the intended beneficiaries encountered numerous challenges emanating from poor communication.
“The challenges differed province by province, but the major one was that there was poor communication about the process by the Defence and War Veterans ministry to the unvetted comrades. As a result, we feel that the vetting exercise should be extended.
“In the rural areas, it was not clear how the mobile vetting teams operated and we suspect that undeserving comrades ended up being vetted,” Sibanda said.
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He said the vetting process should be decentralised to minimise transport costs and accommodate the sick and aged.
“There are some comrades living in the diaspora who have not been vetted. On the issue of political detainees, we also feel that those who were detained for a period of six months should be accommodated.”
Sibanda said the war collaborators, who supported urban guerrillas, should also be considered.
“The vetting process must be non-partisan. There is need for the government to come up with a clear policy on how dependants or widows of ex-combatants can be assisted.”
Government, through the Defence and War veterans ministry last month conducted a vetting exercise, which critics described as a political gimmick to lure ex-combatants to vote for the ruling party in the 2023 elections.
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