The Commander In-Chief, President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday graced the national Heroes Day with World War II veterans appealing to him to help them get their payments which they have been demanding for over 67 years now.
The veterans told journalists shortly after the President had officiated the commemoration and left the ground, that they used the opportunity when shaking hand with him to raise their case over nonpayment of their demands.
The Secretary General of the Tanzania Legion Peter Achimpota said they had used the little time they had to present their cry that had not been fulfilled for a long time.
“We asked him to help us get our claims. We have been seeking for these for the last 67 years,” he said.
“We were volunteering during the entire process of the War in 1939-1945.We had never been paid any salary, nor allowance. But we had been promised our payments after returning home from the war,” he said.
The secretary said further that they had tried to push hard for their rights, to no avail.
“We are aware of what the government has been pledged to do for us, but have never received any feedback from the officials. That is why we want our president to help us,” said Achimpota.
Achimpota claimed that President Kikwete has again promised to meet them to discuss their complaints before plotting the way forward.
For his part Mpenang’ombe Mwanasinjali from Mbeya said they were facing hardships because of the lack of income.
“We expected to get the pensions to enable us run our lives, but the government has not kept its promise,” he noted.
Mwanasinjali said their colleagues had passed away without getting their pensions.
“We want the government to consider our grievances,” said the veteran.
At the highly guarded function, the president led various leaders in marking the historic day by placing a spear and a shield at the foot of the Heroes’ Monument at Mnazi Mmoja grounds in Dar es Salaam.
Other leaders were Chief of Defense Forces, General Davis Mwamunyange who laid a sword at the monument’s base, Head of Diplomatic Corps ambassador Juma Mpango who placed a wreath on it, while the Mayor of Dar es Salaam City Dr Didas Massaburi laid a bow and arrows and the Chairman of Tanzania Legion Ezekiel Chacha an axe at the monument.