WAR Veterans minister Tshinga Dube (pictured) has called on opposition parties and critics, who have hit out at his ministry for spending $2 million in just under three hours at a meeting with President Robert Mugabe at City Sports Centre, to read the Constitution.
Dube said the 2013 Constitution gave the government the mandate to take care of the welfare of war veterans, and that is why his ministry was established to fulfil the constitutional provisions.
“There are people who say we are wasting government funds by paying school fees for war veterans’ children and taking care of their welfare, but the same people voted overwhelmingly for the Constitution, which gave the government the role to take care of their (war vets) welfare,” he said.
Section 84(1) of the Constitution confers war veterans, those who assisted in the liberation struggle and those who were detained, restricted or imprisoned for political reasons during the struggle the right to State welfare.
“Veterans of the struggle . . . are entitled to due recognition for their contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe and to suitable welfare such as pensions and access to basic health care,” part of the Constitution reads.
The cash-strapped government is currently struggling to pay fees for more than 20 000 children of war veterans and, according to Dube, his ministry owes schools a little over $23 million in fees for the past three years.
The ministry, which had been allocated $6 million to meet its school fees obligations for first term, blew $2 million of that during the three-hour meeting with Mugabe. Opposition parties condemned the extravagance, saying the event had nothing to do with government and was purely a Zanu PF function.