The Kusile Rural District Council says it cannot intervene in a land dispute pitting war veterans against Zanu PF youths because the allocation of plots at a farm in Gwayi was done by central government.
War veterans want the allocation of plots to 140 Zanu PF youths at Emmergroon Estate along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway reversed because it will leave their livestock without any pastures.
The government in 2001 allocated land to A1 farmers, including some war veterans before bringing in the Zanu PF youths recently.
Kusile RDC chief executive Sifiso Hadebe told Southern Eye on Sunday that the local authority was not involved in the recent allocation of the plots.
“l can confirm that there are 140, 10 hectare farms that were pegged at Emmergroon Estate some time last year, but to say it belonged to war vets would be a lie,” Hadebe said.
“This is mainly because the land pegging was done at provincial level and we were never further informed of what the pegging was for.”
He said there was no need for the settlers to fight over land and encouraged them to engage Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo for an amicable resolution of the dispute.
“The land belongs to the president,” Hadebe said.
“The people who are complaining about the land being taken away from them should engage the minister because l am sure that he received a directive to do so from a higher office.
“As an institution, we didn’t get the appraisal about what was, or is happening.
“We just heard that there were developments on that land.
“They should come up as a group and decide how they can engage the minister concerning their issue.”
Lupane district war veterans chairperson Jonathan Nkanyezi said the former liberation war fighters were not happy about the developments in the area.
“It’s a big problem that they want people we do not know to come and occupy the area. It’s our grazing land,” Nkanyezi said. “Where will our livestock graze?
“They pegged where our cattle graze, but we are not going to allow them because on the other end it’s a game reserve, hence our livestock risks being killed by wild animals.”
He said locals were not consulted before the Zanu PF youths were allocated the plots.
“They did not talk to anyone about this issue,” Nkanyezi added.
“When they finished pegging the area we then asked the locals to fence their places so that when they come back they must first answer to them why they want to settle on their grazing land.
“For now the cattle still graze on the land that we asked the locals to fence off. We have not moved our cattle to anywhere else.”
Chief Menyezwa Gumede also complained that traditional leaders were not consulted about the new land allocations.
“Chief Mabhikwa and l were not informed about the dispute over land between war veterans and Zanu PF youths,” Gumede said.
“Everything that is done by the government must go through us as traditional leaders.
“However, on that matter we did not hear anything about any developments being made.
“Besides that, the president has not told us what the land is being used for such and such purposes.”
War veterans who were allocated conservancies in the area expressed fears of a foot and mouth disease outbreak after the Zanu PF youths were settled on the grazing lands.