War veterans say the inclusive government should come up with a loan facility for war veterans to borrow loans for projects as stipulated in the War Veterans Act of 1997.
Since the War Veterans Act was passed in 1997 together with war veterans benefits scheme regulations of the same year, treasury has not released resources which war veterans can access for self-help projects.
War veteran and member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Cairo Mhandu says it is high time government complied with the law as the group has not benefitted from loan schemes such as the ones dedicated to women and youths.Retired Lt. Colonel Mhandu noted that if such a facility is created it will assist in eradicating poverty amongst the freedom fighters.
â€œFrom 1997, Ministers of Finance since then have totally ignored the War Veterans Act. War veterans are being disadvantaged in terms of accessing loan facilities. We are saying the government should make sure that we get these loans now because since 1997 we have been waiting, the economy is recovering and something should be done to assist us,â€ said Rtd Lt Col Mhandu, who is also Mazowe North legislator.
War veteran, Cde Joseph Chinotimba says it is sad that most war veterans are living in poverty whilst the inclusive government has made efforts in coming up with tailor made schemes for other groups leaving out the war veterans.
â€œWar veterans are for the country, they fought for the liberation of the country. When the authorities deal with our issues, they must not see us as Zanu PF war veterans as we fought for everyone, even for those who go to church. We are living in abject poverty yet some members of the society have access to loans,â€ Cde Chinotimba said.
The issue of loans for war veterans was discussed extensively during a portfolio committee meeting and members from across the political divide agreed that treasury should come up with a tailor made scheme for the former fighters.
According to the War Veterans Act of 1997, the freedom fighters are entitled to gratuity, settlement benefits, loans, and education benefits, medical and funeral benefits among others.
The major concern with the freedom fighters is the failure by government to act according to the dictates of the law.