Hell Breaks Loose On Mnangagwa As War Vets Threaten To Spill Out Secrets If He Doesn’t Deposit USD Cash Today.
2 September 2021

By Business Correspondent | Exactly 24 years after threatening a coup, and receiving $50,000 lumpsums, war veterans have once again turned against State House, this time to demand US dollar pension payments.

When they first threatened an uprising about a quarter of a century ago on August 21, 1997, the then President Robert Mugabe quickly conceded to a gratuity of Z$50,000 and a Z$2,000 monthly life pension for each ex-combatant, free education and health services for ex-combatants and their dependants, funds for business projects, funeral expenses, and twenty percent of future land resettlement plots.

The President back then said: “There is a greater readiness than there has ever been to assist you …. We will find the money
for this and we can even borrow if we need to. Have you ever heard of a “the dire circumstances of poverty and begging that characterized the lives of many an ex-combatant.’ ‘ He thanked ex-combatants for their party loyalty and called on them to revitalize the party.

Ex-combatants accepted the Z$50,000 gratuity only after the President promised to review it later. For some perspective on the value of compensation payments, an official estimate in 1998 was that seventy percent of the urban population earned less than Z$2,000 per month. The Z$50,000 gratuity was equivalent to the annual salaries of the lowest paid air traffic controllers, who are skilled workers. Mugabe had defused arguably the biggest threat to his power since 1980.

Indicating their tacit support for veterans’ demands, the ex-combatant-led army and police forces had uncharacteristically refrained from intervening to end the often violent protests of the demobilized ex-combatants. Before long, representatives of the veterans’ association dismissed the payments as “peanuts,” amidst often violent protests and threatened violence. In 1999, veterans won a 21% increase in their life pensions.55 Despite a chronic economic crisis, life pensions, along with other state pensions paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, are continually increased to try to maintain their value against extraordinarily high inflation, underscoring the ruling party’s determination to retain ex-combatants’ political loyalty. In December 2002, veterans’ life pensions were Z$8,000 per month. They were increased to Z$9,722 in 2003, backdated to July 2002. In January 2003, their pensions were raised to Z$17,500 per month.57 While the real value of pensions has been seriously eroded by inflation, by the end of 2003, the retirement pensions of most workers were no more than Z$15,000 per month.

This time the liberation fighters have threatened a coup. Said one of them in a WhatsApp group discussion leaked by ZimEye:

“Do you know that there are certain things that we could reveal today and will reveal when we our association gets into power, but we don’t want that,” a male said

They continued:

“Tell ED, that money must be deposited into the account today or tomorrow.”

As the RBZ pot is dry of foreign currency at present, it could not ascertained which source the vets want the money to come from, with analysts postulating that they are eying the recent COVID relief money from the IMF to the tune of a paltry USD1bln.

The last time war veterans made threats against State House, a coup happened in November 2017 resulting in the removal of the late head of state Robert Mugabe. All eyes are now on Emmerson Mnangagwa how he will react to the threats. -Additional reporting, analysis- ZimEye. Source: