White farmer invades war veteran’s farm

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By Leopold Munhende

A white commercial farmer, Calvin William James, has evicted former liberation war heroine Mavis Rombedzayi’s four children, from her Mazowe farm in Mashonaland Central, has learnt.

Efforts are currently underway to challenge the eviction although nothing has materialised, according to Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association district chairperson Efanos Mudzimunyi.

“Rombedzayi’s children received an eviction order from the courts yet they did not know anything about a case against them. They did not even know what was happening when they were evicted.

“We are actually surprised that the same government which gave us land could be in a position to evict us,” said Mudzimunyi.

Zimbabwe at the turn of the century undertook a land redistribution exercise in which land belonging to white commercial farmers was seized without compensation. However, since taking over the reins, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly moved to pacify Western powers by systematically returning targeted farms to their former owners.

Mudzimunyi accused Ministry of Lands officials of working in cahoots with James to dispossess the Rombedzayis of the land.

“The farm is registered in the name of Rombedzayi’s eldest son, so this James character’s coming in raises eyebrows as to operations at the Ministry of Lands.

“We have communication that a Ministry official is behind all this. We are also being informed that the Ministry of Lands does not have any legal footprint of the route James took to get this farm,” said the former fighters’ representative.

Videos and still images shared with show officials from the Deputy Sheriff’s office loading property onto trucks while other belongings lay strewn on the ground.

Former liberation war fighters were used as shock-troops by then President Robert Mugabe in the seizure of land that turned into an international diplomatic issue leading to sanctions being imposed on Zimbabwe.

Dozens of white commercial farmers were injured while others were killed in the violent skirmishes.

Mnangagwa insists the land reform programme is irreversible and has begun to compensate the white farmers for developments on the farms they lost. The Zanu PF leader has been criticised within and without his party for the policy but insist he is following the Constitution which provides for compensation for improvements on expropriated land.

Efforts to get a comment from Lands and Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri were fruitless.