War vets confront Minister over land grab

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By Masvingo Correspondent

Masvingo: War veterans here have called to order Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira for allegedly trying to remove the former freedom fighters from farms they forcibly occupied during the 2000 land redistribution exercise.

Led by their former provincial chair, Isaiah Muzenda, the militant ex-fighters accused the minister of grabbing and subdividing members’ farms from which he proceeds to parcel out pieces of land to his cronies.

In a letter addressed to the minister, the war veterans accused Chadzamira of corruption and negligence in handling their affairs.

The letter cited one Cambria Farm, a wildlife sanctuary which was occupied by a war veteran at the onset of the controversial land distribution programme and has been given to a new land owner.

“The farm was identified suitable for game farming (conservancy) by the provincial lands committee chaired by the then provincial governor JD Hungwe and a resolution was endorsed by then Minister of Lands, the late John Nkomo in 2005 after an all stakeholders meeting with 110 participants.

“The current minister of lands Cde Perence Shiri in June this year also wrote to all provinces instructing priority in allocation of land to war veterans and that in the event of land disputes, under no circumstances should war veterans have his or her offer letter cancelled.

“It is in this background that our members who were allocated land during the height of the land redistribution programme feel victimised by your office as there are multiple reports of war vets being victims under the ongoing land resettlement.

“You are in contempt honourable minister of trying to withdraw offer letters given to war veterans and this is inconsistent with the government policy and a legal ruling,” reads part of the letter.

Government is currently doing a countrywide land audit ostensibly to weed out multiple farm owners.

War veterans in the province said the audit should start in offices verifying applications for land, schedules, and demarcation maps to unearth nepotism and all unconstitutional violations.