A group of war veterans from Mashonaland West are facing prosecution after invading a farm owned by the son of Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to the United Nations Tirivafi Kangai.
The former liberation war fighters fronting the Zvimba East Veterans Investment Company (Zevic) have been allegedly parcelling out housing stands at Takudzwa Panganai Kangai’s Pemrose Farm west of Nyabira Township illegally.
Kangai has been battling to gain control of the 251 hectare farm after it was taken over by the war veterans led by Mike Chingadzo, Clifford Rutsate, Fanuel, Cornelius Muwoni, Joel Mazhambe and Joe Chimhonyo who are said to be the Zevic directors.
According to police records seen by Standard People, “the accused persons invaded the two subdivisions, opened roads, pegged residential stands, sunk a borehole and erected wooden cabins (that) they are using as offices.”
“They advertised for sale residential stands and unsuspecting residential stands seekers are paying varying amounts of money, which is being accepted and receipted by Zvimba East Veterans Investment Company,” reads an affidavit from the Zimbabwe Republic Police General Headquarters’ National Lands Inpectorate that was signed in November last year.
The Zevic directors will now appear at the Chinhoyi magistrate court on February 6 facing charges of violating section 63 of the Land Commission Act Chapter 20:29 (purported alienation of gazetted or other state land).
It was alleged that the war veterans were selling housing stands ranging from 250m2 to 1500m2 for between US$3 600 to US$16 000.
Kangai said the invasion of his farm had thrown his plans to invest on the property into disarray.
“After much struggle and great effort spanning a four-year period from 2016 to 2020, I managed to secure this farm and was in a position to begin substantial infrastructure investments such as permanent fencing and installing centre pivots when this highly disruptive invasion by Zevic occurred,” he told Standard People.
“There were already seven or eight illegal settlers, who had unprocedurally occupied various areas of the land allocated to me by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2020, so this recent invasion has greatly added to the delay of well-planned farming projects on the land.”
Zvimba Rural District Council last year issued a statement warning the public against buying residential stands from the war veterans.
“Zvimba Rural District Council wishes to notify its stakeholders and members of the public that portion of lot 1 of Penrose, (land lying between Harare/Chirundu road and the railway line) and portion of Penrose farm west of Nyabira Township is an illegal land development,” read the statement.
“Anyone who purports to develop and sell residential stands on the said property to unsuspecting members of the public is doing it illegally,” the statement read.
Zanu PF last week distanced itself from land barons using its name to illegally occupy farms in urban areas where they parceled out housing stands to home seekers.
The government and police have also vowed to take stern action against illegal occupation of state land and several arrests have been in recent weeks.