Nine war veterans arrested Wednesday over a protest outside Finance and Economic development Minister Mthuli Ncube’s government offices are set to appear at the Harare Magistrates’ Court this Friday.
The group is being charged with “participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act”.
This follows a flash demonstration staged by the former combatants outside Ncube’s Government Complex offices in Harare while demanding an increase in their poor pension payments.
They held placards, some written, “Pay war veterans they deserve please we are human beings. #Mthuli we are tired of breadcrumbs like Lazurus.”
The nine ex-combatants are Isso Madzivanyika, Nyasha Manyana, Daphne Kanoti, Shoorai Nyamangodo, Faith Chamanda, Ruvimbo Sphyina Maphosa, Jordan Nderezina, Maron Mabvunzaneyi Mazikana and Wonderful Sabarauta.
The war veterans are represented by Chawona Kanoti, of Kanoti and Partners and Paidamoyo Saurombe of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
Demonstrations by war veterans against a Zanu PF ministerial appointee have been rare since the end of the 2009 to 2013 unity government’s term of office.
The short-lived hybrid administration comprised Zanu PF and two opposition MDC factions.
War veterans used to besiege then Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s offices during the tenure of the unity government demanding an increase in their allowances.
Biti is now MDC Alliance vice president.
The country’s former liberators became a very vocal force just before the turn of the century when they successfully arm-twisted the then Robert Mugabe led government to award them gratuities of $50 000 each, land and some monthly allowances.
Coupled with poor administration by the Zanu PF led authority, the unbudgeted pay-outs are believed to have triggered what would later become an economic freefall whose effects are still being felt to date.