President Robert Mugabe, who is also the war veterans patron, says the war veterans indaba will now become an annual event where the country’s liberators meet to deliberate on issues regarding their welfare and how to safeguard the country’s hard won independence.
President Mugabe was addressing thousands of war veterans at the City Sports Centre this Thursday at the war veterans indaba.
More than 10 000 war veterans from the country’s 10 provinces converged in Harare to meet with their patron, President Mugabe, and deliberate on various issues pertaining to their welfare and those affecting the party Zanu PF.
Cde Mugabe said war veterans went to war to fight for the right to self-determination, adding that they are free to form their own companies as a form of empowerment.
However, the President said the culture of failing to pay back loans, be it in farming or when capitalising businesses, should come to an end.
“When you borrow a loan, you ought to pay back. That is good business acumen. There is nothing for free,” Cde Mugabe said.
He reiterated the need for unity amongst the war veterans body, adding that Zapu and Zanu united to become Zanu PF and this is reflected even in the appointment of vice presidents and service chiefs.
“Stop jostling for the presidency, I am not dying yet. Stop thinking about succession. Unite against the enemy,” said President Mugabe.
President Mugabe also spoke about the significance of discipline within the war veterans, saying some of them have lost discipline. He also warned war veterans not to dine with imperialists who are our erstwhile colonisers.
The war veterans patron promised to look into concerns regarding their welfare.
Cde Mugabe urged war veterans to approach the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for plots saying he will approve their applications once they reach his office.
He paid tribute to war veterans for mobilising voters so that Zanu PF remains in power.
Earlier on, war veterans representatives presented thematic reports and resolutions for deliberations done yesterday (Wednesday) which focused on five areas namely, statutory benefits for war veterans, economic empowerment and preferential access to economic opportunities and natural resources, party ideology, threats to the party and revolution and liberation war heritage.
The war veterans indaba started on Tuesday with the arrival of delegates; on Wednesday they broke into thematic committees, while today Thursday there was a key note address from their patron President Mugabe.
Notable high ranking figures who attended the indaba include, Defence Minister and Secretary for War Veterans in the politburo Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi, Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo, War veterans Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri, Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri, Commissioner General of Prisons Retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi and Director General in the President’s Department Retired Major General Happyton Bonyongwe, among others.