By Kenneth Matimaire
Mutare, November 14, 2016 – MANICALAND provincial affairs minister and war veteran, Mandiitawepi Chimene says she is using her own funds to maintain mass graves of fallen comrades in neighbouring Mozambique’s Chimoio and Nyadzonia after the current government had abandoned the shrines.
Chimene, who was addressing a war veterans’ meeting in Mutare weekend, also said she was also financing the reburial of some war ex-combatants.
The war veterans ministry led by Tshinga Dube has been accused of failing to attend to the plight of former freedom fighters, let alone those long gone.
Dube however insists his ministry has not been allocated any meaningful funds to attend to the broader needs of war veterans.
The situation has seen shrines of fallen freedom fighters in Mozambique fail to receive any attention.
Over 3,000 liberation war fighters were bombed by Rhodesian forces in military training camps in Chimoio on November 23, 1977 while thousands others died when another base in Nyadzonia was bombed on August 9, the previous year.
The maintenance of the shrines appears to be at the bottom of the government’s priority list as the country’s leadership turns all its energies towards endless power fights.
However, an emotional Chimene who has been very active in Chimoio and Nyadzonia, even prior to her appointment as Provincial Affairs Minister, told a war veterans meeting in Mutare she had turned benefactor to her fallen comrades.
The tough-talking former central intelligence officer had been applauded by Dube who visited the shrines last month for doing a sterling job.
Chimene said she has been forced to use her own personal funds to do the government work.
“Minister Dube said I’m doing a good job in making sure that the shrines in Mozambique are well taken care of. Well, let me remind him that, I’m doing that from my own purse. I’m forking out money from my own pocket to maintain shrines in Mozambique.
“I go there every year to put flowers on all graves using my own money. I use my own vehicle, my own fuel to go there. I mobilise buses using my own resources and take fellow comrades to commemorate and remember our fallen heroes,” Chimene said.
She said despite her “selfless” efforts to assist fellow war veterans, there were some who still labelled her a pseudo war veteran.
In a bid to cleanse her liberation war history, which has been questioned by her detractors, Chimene, self proclaimed leader of a war veterans faction, opened up on her war credentials.
Chimene said she will not be deterred from continuing to use her personal funds to finance activities of fallen heroes since comrades took an undertaking during the war, to assist one another dead or alive.