At least nine disgruntled war veterans were arrested by the police Wednesday after gathering at Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s offices in central Harare demanding an increase to their monthly pensions.
The former freedom fighters are members of a pressure group, The War Veterans Welfare.
They face charges of inciting public violence and are detained at the Harare Central Police Station.
NewZimbabwe.com identified the arrested war veterans as; Faith Chananda, Wonderful Kabarauta, Isso Madzivanyika Daphne Kanoti, Mazikana Marron, Nyasha Mangena, Sthyine Maphosa, Shorai Nyamangodo, and Jordan Mberadzina.
The arrests come a day after Ncube announced Zimbabwe had received nearly US$1 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the head of Treasury, US$500 million from the new financial injection would be used to prop up the country’s ailing Zimbabwe dollar.
However, the struggle heroes are demanding the government should review their current monthly pension earnings of about $16 000 (US$100).
The war veterans argue the monthly pensions are not enough to cater to their basic needs.
One of the war veterans who managed to evade arrest told NewZimbabwe.com the arrest of his colleagues was unlawful as they were not demonstrating but waiting outside the New Government Complex for a written response from Ncube.
“There was no demonstration. We were waiting for a response from the minister’s office,” he said.
“After submitting our request to the minister, we were told to come today (Wednesday) and collect our response. We were shocked when the police rounded us up and some of the comrades were arrested,” the war veteran, who requested anonymity, said.
However, NewZimbabwe.com failed to get a comment from police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi on the arrests.
A news crew that visited Harare Central Police Station Wednesday afternoon was informed by sources that nine war veterans had been arrested and were in police custody.
War veterans have in recent months been making a raft of demands to the government. The demands include that they are issued with diplomatic passports, and have access to free medical care at upmarket private hospitals and abroad arguing the local public health facilities have no medicine, staff, and state-of-the-art equipment.