The first Zanu Pf War Veterans League Conference kicked of this morning at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) were the newly found strategic wing is set to elect heads of departments and their deputies who will constitute its leadership.
In 2017, Zanu PF resolved to have a league of the veterans of the liberation struggle in recognition of the role they played in liberating the country.
The conference will stretch until tomorrow.
Officiating at the conference, President and Zanu Pf first secretary, Emmerson Mnangagwa said war veterans should embody the party’s ideology, national character, culture and value system.
“It is my expectation that this inaugural Conference will be guided by the Party Constitution and procedures as you elect the Heads of Departments and their Deputies who will constitute the leadership of this strategic fourth Wing of our colossal Party,” said Mnangagwa.
War veterans recently elected Provincial Chairpersons to assume various positions in the War Veterans League from across the ten provinces of the country.
The league is widely seen as a strategic force to drum up support for Zanu Pf ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“The presence of members of the League throughout our communities must effectively be harnessed to mobilise the masses in the implementation of Party and Government policies and programmes,” said Mnangagwa.
With the majority of veterans still wallowing in poverty, the President was quick to make several promises.
“To date, the now functional Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board is setting up productive ventures across various sectors of the economy. These will not only improve the welfare of our veterans, but also that of their families and dependents,”
“Additionally, my Government is availing seed capital to capacitate the Veterans Investment Corporation Holding Company. The Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board is called upon to work closely with the League for the increased participation of veterans in the mainstream economy.”
The conference comes amid widespread criticism of the ruling party, which is being accused of compelling liberation fighters to join its ranks in order to receive benefits.
Recently ZPRA Veterans Trust said no veteran must feel compelled to join Zanu PF unless they wanted to.
Over the years many war veterans have since parted ways with the liberation war movement for various reasons but feel the government is deliberately neglecting their welfare when it comes to handing over various material packages to comrades still in the ruling party structures.