Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) veteran’s association has started a process of vetting its former combatants to compile a list of those who are yet to receive compensation.
Vetting of war veterans is underway with the government registering combatants who had not been previously vetted to be eligible for compensation backdated to 1980.
But ZAPU’s former armed wing claims most of its colleagues were allegedly sidelined during the war veterans national vetting exercise.
ZPRA held a meeting recently attended by its former fighters, some even coming from Mashonaland Central, where the association gave its members an update of its intention and solicited for views on how to go about it.
In an interview with CITE after the meeting, the association`s secretary general, Baster Magwizi, confirmed the development, saying they wanted to conduct a process to reward and honour its fighters who participated the armed struggle.
“Vetting is already on with government but it has been selective in that all those who would come on their own without anyone to vouch for them are self-vetted but we want to do wholesome process.
“It is better to self-vet as we know each other instead of relying on a government structure where other people are excluded because of the one doing the vetting would have trained at the rear and missed an opportunity to be in the operational area,” he said.
Magwizi highlighted that for vetting to be relevant, it should be inclusive and not exclude others who sacrificed to liberate the country.
“Vetting for ZPRA was not there, as this room was not opened up to us because right now we have developed to a stage where we are about to be delivered what belongs to us.
“It is important to do that now so that we don’t leave anybody outside to benefit what we are supposed to receive including our properties that had been impounded by government,” said the secretary-general.
He noted that ZPRA would rely on its cadres to provide information about fellow fighters from training camps, squads and those who operated in the field.
“We will engage with those who trained in various camps and the squads that operated during the course of training. We also have comrades who operated in the field on deployment under command of the regions and sectors or fronts that is Northern region one to three and Southern region one to three.
“The commanders of those members at that time would identify others they operated with. Thirdly we have a vetted list which is within the Ministry of War Veterans, were there are those already receiving social grants. We will also use that list and combine with our efforts for a consolidated list representative of the rear, various camps and of the operational area,” he said.
Magwizi emphasised that what was imperative, is for cadres to be able to vouch for each other.
“As a regional commander, I would know who many men I had and how many I lost. I will also be reminded by my juniors – the platoon commanders who will say in this platoon I had so and so, as long as those members are alive, they would be able to vouch for each other,” he said.
Previously, ZPRA indicated more than 11 000 of its members were yet to receive compensation amid claims that ZANLA has over one million members awaiting the same.