1.1 The Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services had the opportunity to analyse the War Veterans Bill, [H.B 15, 2019] which was gazetted on the 1st of September, 2019. The Committee received mixed views on the Bill. Some sections of the public argued that the proposed law had significantly failed to address the real concerns of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle whilst others applauded the Bill for recognizing all persons who participated in the liberation struggle, irrespective of the different services or role they played. Indeed, most of the contributions made by individuals, especially war collaborators, were highly emotive as they felt hard done by Government. This is because they have not received any recognition or state benefits for the immense sacrifice that they made for Zimbabwe to gain its independence in 1980. Cognisant of the diverse views proffered, however, the Committee is indebted to all persons who contributed towards the crafting of this Bill.
The welfare of Veterans of the liberation Struggle has for long been a contentious issue in the post-independence era. War Veterans, War Collaborators, Non-combatant Cadres and Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees have had divided opinion over how their contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe had to be recognized and honored. Statutory measures were put in place to try and address the concerns of these liberation war heroes and heroines. The War Veterans Act (Chapter 11:15) and the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Act (Chapter 17:10) are pieces of legislation instituted by the government to cater for the welfare of freedom fighters. However, these statutory measures seem to have fallen short in some ways to comprehensively address the concerns of war veterans in their various categories. This and many other reasons prompted the crafting of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill [H.B. 15, 2019]. This new Bill seeks to pacify and unify freedom fighters under a consolidated piece of legislation which proffers and promotes the rights and benefits of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle and their dependents. It is against this profound background that the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services conducted stakeholder consultative meetings on the Bill and compiled this report.