Zimbos against veterans compensation

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BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
A SURVEY by a local non-governmental organization has revealed that Zimbabweans are unhappy with government plans to pay more compensation to more than 160,000 recently vetted veterans.

The Zimbabwe Coalition for Debt and Development (Zimcodd) study sampled people in Bulawayo, Harare, Mutare, Gweru and Masvingo to get their views on veterans’ compensation.

This was after concerns were raised that the number of war veterans in the country had risen from the 34,000 who received compensation in 1997 to 160,000 after the war collaborators and detainees check this year.

“The survey noted that while compensation for veterans is a welcome development, the continued increase in the number of veterans raises questions about whether they (led) their own struggle for liberation; which is different from the one that was fought in the 1970s,” Zimcodd’s statement read.

“Thus, the lack of transparency in the selection process remains a source of concern. According to a key informant in Gweru, the rise in numbers defies logic as it reflects the fact that more veterans were born between 1997 and 2022 and glorifies healthy and populist politics. To that end, public resource policy was seen as the epicenter of the controversial rise in numbers; pointing to hegemony in the political economy of the country.

Zimcodd also said the identification process lacked transparency because it was not made public.

“The principle of transparency and accountability remains the nerve center of prudent management of public finances. Since its inception, the veterans compensation process has operated in an opaque manner in which citizens are not provided with the granular details of how recipients are selected. The selection model should never be done in secret and the Ministry of Defense should put the list of qualifications used to select recipients on its website. It will also essentially help build public confidence,” Zimcodd added.

Economist Brian Sedze said without an increase in productivity and the tax base, the government would be forced to print money to fund the program.

“The economy will scream. This time, expect complete currency death, accelerated inflation and exchange rate, because 160,000 war veterans is a huge leap from ( less than) 50,000 in 1997. Pensions, long-term investments, savings, insurance and medical aid will die faster The economy will self-dollarize and sovereign debt will multiply beyond $19 billion US, which will limit future growth. Small jobs in industry will die; and with incomes eroding, people can expect mass action at work and an increase in the protest vote,” recently said Sedze in an opinion piece.

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