A GROUP of war veterans in Masvingo have sought President Robert Mugabe’s assistance to fend off the threat to evict them from a wildlife conservancy by a businessman, who they claim has backing from senior government officials.
Source: Mugabe asked to intervene in conservancy row – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 8, 2017
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The war veterans, Elliot Muswita, Josphat Kudumba, Raphael Shoko, Finger Tapera, Mhizha Peterson Mudhumo and Solomon Ndlovu face eviction from Mujingwe Conservancy measuring 10 000 hectares to pave way for the South Africa-based businessman, Vusumuzi Mazibuko.
Documents at hand show that the former freedom fighters have a 25-year lease expiring on December 1, 2033.
According to a memorandum of agreement signed between the war veterans and the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority dated 2014, “this agreement shall be deemed to have commenced on the 1st of January 2008 and shall continue and endure thereafter for a period of 25 years until 31st December 2033, unless sooner terminated as hereinafter stipulated.”
Shoko, the group’s spokesperson however, told Southern Eye that there have been concerted efforts to forcibly evict them, hence their plea to Mugabe for help.
“We have made lots of investments to the farm and we are asking for protection from Mugabe against threats to push us out of the conservancy. We cannot fight ministers and other government officials and we are saying if we are to be evicted, we at least ask that we be compensated for our investment,” he said.
Mazibuko has since last year not been responding to questions from Southern Eye seeking his comment on the matter.
Last year, the war veterans engaged Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister, Shuvai Mahofa, who in a letter to Mugabe said she was against threats to evict the ex-combatants.
“These are the people who have fully participated and contributed on this project for the past seven years to date. Of interest is that they are all war veterans and they deserve government protection.
“A lot of funds have been put on this project namely salaries of 17 workers for the past seven years, fuel to pump water for the game, provision of food to the workers and maintenance of the perimeter fence to the farm,” Mahofa said in a letter dated May 16, 2016 to Mugabe’s office and copied to Environment Minister, Oppah Muchinguri.
“These are the people who stood firm by staying put on the ground despite challenges from the Whites in the neighbouring farms. A false letter of withdrawal of offer letter to the beneficiaries was written by former Minister of State of provincial Affairs, (Kudakwashe) Bhasikiti citing the withdrawal of Save Conservancy offer letters yet Mujingwe is more than 300km from Save Conservancy. I have no objection to support this group of our liberation war veterans.”