Farayi Machamire 9 March 2017
HARARE – The War Veterans’ ministry has bemoaned the repossession of idle
land parcelled out to the ex-freedom fighters under the violent land
In a statement, the Tshinga Dube-led ministry called on all ex-combatants
who had lost land under the repossession exercise to approach his
ministry’s provincial offices to get their names and details documented.
This comes after Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora said that the
Surveyor-General’s Department was conducting a survey to evaluate all the
farms government acquired under the land reform programme.
“We are going to repossess and then reallocate vacant plots, while
underutilised land, especially under the A2 model, will be downsized,” he
“Government will not take away land from someone on the ground, but will
re-plan and downsize where necessary in order to increase land use. It’s
the same process as downsizing, except that this one targets those who are
not using land properly or optimally because their farm is too big for
them,” he said.
“It should be clear that we don’t want to downsize the properties of
productive farmers,” he added.
Mombeshora said if someone has above maximum farm size but is utilising
that property optimally, “then we’d rather support that farmer to increase
The War Veterans ministry said the affected ex-freedom fighters must
provide “their names, war veterans number, national identification number,
province and district, date settled, name of farm, subdivision and size
copy of offer letter, any evidence of threat to withdraw and court papers
if there is any court action underway”.
The land reform exercise saw around 5 000 white commercial farmers being
violently evicted from their land by President Robert Mugabe’s supporters
and war veterans over the past 17 years while more than a dozen farmers
have been killed.
The new occupants, mainly war vets, lack farming skills and can barely
make ends meet.
Their agricultural output is a fraction of the level seen before 2000,
when Mugabe – who argued the move sought to right colonial wrongs –
grabbed land from experienced white farmers.
The new occupants are also being hammered by a stagnating economy that has
seen banks reluctant to lend undermining their businesses.
The War Vets ministry said: “Due to the above circumstances, the . . .
ministry has pleaded with His Excellency to intervene at the highest level
to stop the ministry of Lands or any other authorities in these dastardly
activities from countenancing or approving such dispossessions and