Veterans of the liberation struggle have approached the High Court demanding US$364 000 and $78 000 each in pension arrears. The demand dates back to 2008 when they claimed to have been denied their dues despite government’s undertaking to pay them and send their children to school, among other benefits.
This week, the veterans of Zimbabwe’s armed struggle, who say they have been neglected for 40 years, approached the High Court seeking an order compelling government to meet their demands.
According to the documents, applicants are The War Veterans Pressure Group, Amos Kumbulani Sigauke, Wonderful Sabarauta, Hazvinei Machingura, Willard Zviripi, Shoorai Nyamangondo, Daphine Kanoti, Dadirai Njitimana, Digmore Ndiya, Ruben Zulu, Joseph Chinguwa and Godfrey Gurira as first to 12th applicants representing all ex-freedom fighters.
They cited Defence and War Veterans Affairs minister Oppah Muchinguri, Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube and Pension Master in the Civil Service Commission as first, second and third respondents.
The order sought is that the respondents ensure the amounts are paid to each war veteran.
“It is ordered that first, second and third respondents jointly and severally, the one complying others to be absolved pay second to 12th applicants and every war veteran as represented by the first applicant and defined and provided for respectively, in terms of section 3 and 4(1) of Statutory Instrument 280 of 1997, being War Veterans (Pension Scheme) Regulations, 1997, the sum of US$364 875,58 or its equivalent plus $71 6001,04 being their calculated pension sum arrears as at September 30 2020, in terms of section 4(1) of the Statutory Instrument 280 of 1997,” the draft order read.
The order sought also seeks to have the respondents pay for arrears that will arise from the date of the application to the day the order will be granted and does not seek to have any costs paid for the application.
In 1997, war veterans were awarded $50 000 each by the late former President Robert Mugabe’s government in what many said were unbudgeted funds from which the country’s economy never recovered.
The disbursement of that amount led to the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar on a day referred to as Black Friday from which the country continued on a downward economic spiral.