War vets say disappointed by govt plans to return land to whites

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By Leopold Munhende

A DISGRUNTLED section of war veterans says it is disappointed by government’s recent decision to compensate white former commercial farmers coupled with plans to return land to some of them.

The group was responding to government pronouncements some black owned but unproductive land will soon be repossessed.

At a press conference in Harare, Wednesday, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) member Ignatius Mutsinze said government claims farms were being underutilised was a disguise to seize land from black owners.

“We are wondering as war veterans as to why our government has now given priority in terms of compensation to white settlers, former white farmers ahead of black farmers and black Zimbabweans whose land was grabbed by government,” he said.

“We wonder what the justification is to compensate whites who in the first place grabbed the land from us, from our ancestors, who also stole livestock from our ancestors many years ago.

“We went to war to fight these former settlers for just that reason, for the land, so that the land can be given back to us but now the government is considering to invite those and come back onto the land.

“The question of productivity has been an issue that government is using for its justification to give back land to whites.”

Government in July signed a US$3.5 billion Global Compensation Deed Agreement with white former farmers.

The deal will see the ex-commercial farmers receive hefty payments for developments on land before the post 2000 land grab policy.

Added Mutsinze, “Government has never considered compensation for those whose livestock was grabbed by the former colonial settlers.

“It is a burning issue and perhaps a solution can be found but we as war veterans are very disappointed.

“Government is now considering giving US$3.5 billion to whites but they have not talked about reparations, we need reparations for properties of our ancestors, that were grabbed from them.

“Reparations is the issue government should talk about but they are not.”