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Biti condemns victimisation of war veterans by ‘vapid vacuous regime’

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti has condemned the arrest and detention of former veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle after they protested demanding an upward review of their pensions.

Tendai Biti addressing the media at Biti Law Chambers in Harare
Tendai Biti addressing the media at Biti Law Chambers in Harare

The war veterans protested on Tuesday at the Africa Unity Square demanding that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration review their monthly ZWL 16 000 pensions (US$80 at the official bank rate) that they are currently getting.

In charging them, the state said the accused persons had no lawful right to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry.

The former Finance Minister condemned their arrest as abuse.

“We have said it before. Emmerson has lost it completely and it’s now a question of when not if? This abuse of human rights ,closure of space and abuse of veterans is a new low even by the low non-existent standards of this vapid vacuous regime,” Biti said.

On Wednesday, MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa vowed that an alternative government would not victimise the war veterans.

“AS A PEOPLE’S GOVERNMENT we will never harass, terrorize, disrespect, victimize, ignore or forget our war veterans and liberation heroes. Their welfare and dignity is and shall be our top priority. All their grievances must be addressed. Stop arresting and harassing our liberation heroes,” he said.

Opposition activist Pride Mkono said the senior citizens deserved better than being harassed.

“War vets are also just ordinary Zimbabweans suffering like everyone else. While they tend to have a controversial image they deserve better. To arrest them for exercising their right to assembly and expression on issues pertaining to their welfare is tyranny of the worst kind,” Mkono said.

The war veterans have already spent more than three days in custody simply for demanding better pensions.

Addressing Zanu PF Central Committee members on Thursday, Mnangagwa strangely said his government was upholding constitutionalism.

“Upholding constitutionalism, democracy and the rule of law, as well as the protection and preservation of our rich cultural heritage is sacrosanct.

“This is the true meaning of independence, freedom and democracy,” he said. Nehanda Radio

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