By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
LIBERATION war veterans from Mashonaland West province are up in arms against ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Fisheries officials allegedly involved in corrupt activities in the ongoing downsizing of farms.
The ministry has perennially been embroiled in suspected graft in the parcelling out of land, where money is alleged to frequently exchange hands.
In the latest affront targeting war veterans, it is alleged the ex-combatants are having their allocated farms significantly downsized, or beneficiaries being evicted altogether.
In a bare-knuckle press briefing held in Chinhoyi Friday, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) Mashonaland West chairman, Cornelia Muoni decried the continuing victimisation, discrimination and marginalisation of ex-combatants over control of means of production, which was reason they waged the bush war of the 1970s.
“We have sadly noted with concern that a good number of veterans of the liberation struggle are suffering at the hands of some corrupt senior government officials. A good number of veterans have had their land significantly reduced with some having their pieces of land annexed by other people, some falling victim to double allocations, and in worst of cases being evicted from their previously allocated land, at times violently,” the tough-talking former freedom fighter said.
“This is not only affecting war veterans, but also includes other ordinary citizens who are facing the same fate as a result of corruption. Our President, (Emmerson Dambudzo) ED Mnangagwa has expressed zero tolerance towards corruption and these dirty things must stop immediately,” he said.
Ex-combatants were entitled to 20% of all land allocations but were curiously not enjoying the constitutional right.
“Officials from the Lands offices are acting as if ignorant to this fact and law, and they just deliberately disregard. This is very painful to someone who falls victim after they sacrificed their own life to this land question.”
Delicate land management issues, Muoni said, must be handled fairly and impartially, without fear or favour, to avoid soiling the name of President Mnangagwa’s government and party.
“As associations, we run solidly behind our President’s vision of an upper middle income economy by 2030 and that can only come to fruition when everybody is playing their part well in a professional and responsible manner,” he said.