War vets, MPs fight over sugar estate

via War vets, MPs fight over sugar estate 16 November 2014

WAR veterans in Chiredzi have accused Zanu PF MPs in Chiredzi of blocking their takeover of the giant Tongaat Hulet sugar estate.

The former fighters accused the MPs of being paid money by the Tongaat Hulett management to stop the occupation of the estate.

A representative of the war veterans, Clios Mukwanya, told NewZimbabwe.com that the MPs led by Retired Major Callisto Gwanetsa were doing all they could to frustrate them and stop them from taking over the land.

Mukwanya claimed at least 100 war veterans were given offer letters two years ago to take over the estate by the Ministry of Lands.

“The MPs, Denford Masiya, (Chiredzi East), Darligton Chiwa (Chiredzi West) and Rtd General Callisto Gwanetsa (Chiredzi South) are working against our move to take over more than 20 000 hectares of sugar cane plantations here,” he said.

“We know why they are doing that. It is because they are getting lots of money from Hullet but we will not rest until we take over what rightly belongs to us,” said Mukwanya.

Earlier this year, at least 600 villagers led by the war veterans occupied the sugar cane plantations. They were however driven out by the police with some war veterans leaders arrested over the invasion.

Mukwanya said the current problems stemmed from the bitter factionalism rocking the ruling Zanu PF party.

“Bhasikiti (the Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister) withdrew our offer letters that we got from former governor Maluleke saying that some issues were not followed when we got the letters,” he said.

War veterans spearheaded President Robert Mugabe’s violent land reform that began in 2000.

The land invasions saw the government driving away about 4 500 white farmers and parcelling out the land to black Zimbabweans.

The programme however triggered massive food shortages as the new black farmers lacked the necessary skills to grow enough crops.