GOVERNMENT might soon be forced to grab farms as the War Veterans ministry has initiated a one-week exercise calling on former freedom fighters to submit applications for land in their provinces of choice.
Source: Govt dangles farms to war vets – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 9, 2017
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
The exercise, which began yesterday ending next Thursday, is targeting ex-combatants who have never been allocated land since the agrarian reform programme in 2000, that saw white commercial farmers being forced off land.
This came at a time when war veterans are complaining of unfair land distribution and threats of eviction by well-connected government officials. In Masvingo, a group of war veterans has since appealed to President Robert Mugabe to stop their imminent eviction from Mujingwe Wildlife Conservancy.
In a notice yesterday, the Ministry of Welfare Services for War Veterans noted the ongoing land disputes involving ex-combatants, and went further to call on other liberation war freedom fighters to submit applications of interest to be allocated land.
“War veterans of the liberation struggle who have not yet been allocated land may also submit
applications through the provincial field officers, indicating their preferred province,” the notice reads.
The ministry urged war veterans facing eviction to approach it for assistance to fend off the eviction threats. The ex-combatants last year met Mugabe complaining about their “systematic” evictions “from their pieces of land allocated to them under the land reform programme”.
“Due to the above circumstances, the veterans of the liberation struggle have pleaded with His Excellency to intervene at the highest level to stop the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlements or any other authorities involved in these dastardly activities from countenancing or approving such dispossessions and displacements.
“It is, therefore, in this light that the Ministry of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees calls upon all affected veterans of the liberation struggle to submit the following information [names, copy of offer letter and withdrawal letter and evidence of eviction threats] urgently to our nearest provincial field offices,” the ministry added.
War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube confirmed the notice was from his ministry.
Mugabe always talks of the important role played by war veterans during the armed struggle, but only a few well-connected ones have benefited from government largesse as thousands have to make do with measly monthly allowances.
In 1997, war veterans were given Z$50 000 as gratuity for their participation in the armed struggle, and they are demanding for government to look into their welfare to satisfy angry ex-combatants.