War vets threaten to dump Mugabe

via War vets threaten to dump Mugabe | The Zimbabwean 10 July 2014 by Regerai Tukutuku

Disgruntled war veterans who last month invaded sugar estates in Chiredzi and were arrested have accused President Robert Mugabe of using them as political pawns.

They told The Zimbabwean they regretted campaigning for and voting Mugabe and Zanu (PF) into power in last year’s election.

The former freedom fighters said they were ordered to campaign vigorously for Zanu (PF) and Mugabe in return for sugar cane plots – but were shocked when they were arrested and fined for invading private plantations.

They spent several nights in police holding cells before appearing in court, after which they were fined $25 each or 100 days in jail. They all paid the fine.

“We were told by the party, including even our seniors in the army, that we were going to be empowered through the issuance of sugar plots if we campaigned for the party and President Mugabe,” said their spokesperson Ezra Muronda.

“But after doing all the donkey work and now that the party and Mugabe are in power, things have changed. We are tired of empty promises,” he added. War veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda, could not be reached for a comment.

The veterans have formed a critical movement that has been used to campaign for Zanu (PF) over the years, sometimes engaging in violent acts to cow opposition supporters.

They were used as foot soldiers who violently removed close to 5,000 white commercial farmers from their land since 2000, with a substantial number being awarded with plots and promotions in the military sector.

The Chiredzi group vowed to keep pressure on the party leadership to honour their pre-election promises. “We could not believe it when the police came and arrested us. Remember we led farm invasions countrywide and all we are saying is that we want to enter the lucrative sugar industry,” said Muronda.

One of those arrested, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, said he would dump the ruling party if he did not get a cane plot.

“We are elderly people with families to look after and if a party continues to use you and later cheats you, the best thing to do is to dump that party,” he said.

The Zanu (PF) spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, denied that the war veterans were promised sugar cane plots. “The party never made any promise to any single section of our members but to the people of Zimbabwe as a whole,” he added. It has also emerged this week that the war veterans who invaded sugar cane plots owned by sugar milling giant Tongaat Hulett had the blessing of two cabinet ministers.

Although the ministers (names withheld) could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press, it is understood that they are the ones who put pressure on the war veterans pressure to demand what they were promised during the run-up to last year’s election.

Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister, Douglas Mombeshora, said he was not aware of the promises. “We have a government policy of resettlement and we expect everyone including war veterans to respect those policies,” said Mombeshora. “We are not going to allow any more farm invasions.”

The Zanu (PF) politburo recently ordered all party members and top securocrats who had invaded farms and conservancies to leave, but they remain put, insisting that a national land audit be conducted before they will move.


  • comment-avatar

    No sympathy from me. As far as I’m concerned they are just a bunch of free loaders feeding on other peoples sweat. Leaches that’s what they are. The have done nothing but cause chaos and prop up a Dictator during every election.

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    maita 10 years ago

    These thugs were never at the front so invading sugar plantations is trying to make themselves look like heroes. I thought they would say we want to start our own sugar plantations and Mugabe is not helping us. They want Mugabe to help them destroy an already tattered economy? Go hang, Mugabe says and I feel it.

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    Bazur Wa KuMuzi 10 years ago

    Ya these ones and others like them let them dump Zanupf. They will then know what suffering is. They want to loot for ever. They must be beaten up harder!

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    Fundani Moto 10 years ago

    If these are true war veterans, they should be doing something constructive with their lives. The war ended 34 years ago and to this day they haven’t contributed to nation building – what happened to “asking what you can do for your country instead of what your country can do for you?”(Quoting J.F.Kennedy). Many of us who fought during the liberation struggle have moved on in our lives and worked hard to support our families instead of waiting for government handouts or utterly destroying the country by invading farms. We fought for good governance and law and order instead of all the chaos these so-called “war veterans” have caused. Why not form co-operatives, obtain loans and start your own businesses which will make the economy grow?

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    Shamhu YeNhanzva 10 years ago

    The war veterans should be the ones advocating free speech, equal rights regardless of political affiliation, true freedom to vote without fear, protection of private property & the rule of law. Apparently none of the above matter to them, so we all misunderstood the reason why they went to war. It’s clear that they believe we owe them eternally for what they did even though the masses provided them with food, shelter & clothing during the war.

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    mutakura 10 years ago

    How many war vets are involved here? A very poor article

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    Mlimo 10 years ago

    With a life expectancy of 45 for the average male in Zimbabwe there should be only a few hundred left and they would be over 50 years old ie 16 when they went to fight. So I doubt these are REAL war vets just free booters looking for a free pass to life.

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    These people have the mind set of Chitokoloshees(Zvikwambo)They will give their host a little ( grab a farm,a vote,or kill/maim an opposition member). But they want a whole lot more afterwards. People have been known to have lost wives even daughters in a bid to satisfy a Chitokoloshee. Insatiable goblins prepared to drain the country dry. Truth is even if they get these plots ,come next election they will demand more for campaigning i.e beating up villagers to vote for ZPF. They will want seed, tractors,everything all for free,never mind that the rest of the population is still living off arid land.They will never be happy until Zimbabwe is dry.Like Goblins they will kill the host.

    Where is the gamatox when you need it?

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    Mdidi 10 years ago

    These so called war veterians never learn, always vulnerable to politicans. In between elections they push scotch carts for survival only to be mobilised towards elects for campaign of terror. Shame. We never sent them to war, they went there voluntarily so what do they want from us? If they feel short changed, they should take back this country to the whites and we will then take it back ourselves in a more mature and respectable way.

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    Mike Nyathi 10 years ago

    Shame. Thieves fighting thieves.

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    JOHNSON 10 years ago

    You Take 40 years to learn a simple phenomenon….Politics of Zimbabwe is about the self and has never been about the others. War vets have been subject to this abuse for very long..They have spent life times in abject poverty. Is it not too late in the day. The sun is setting and the God given life spans are ending. Sorry guys we let you down after so much sacrifice….I mean the REAL war vets not the younger IMPOSTORS who masquerade as War vets.

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    Mandevu 10 years ago

    Forget the Vets, they are not a player in the change process that is starting

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    Tinomunamataishe 10 years ago

    War veterans are so irrelevant insofar as the future goes, don’t give them oxygen. They had their chance in the sun and they blew it. Now they have lost all respect.

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    gorongoza 10 years ago

    They are just an abuse lot who beat up, murder or burn pple who do not like a certain political party. We dont care what happens to them.We lost respect in them when they became party agents and not national heroes. Go to hell. Vatumirei riot varohwe too much!

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    Chitova weGona 10 years ago

    They should have stayed locked up for good. Idiots!

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    biend 10 years ago

    tasting a bit of their medecine

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    When are these fools ever going to learn? I have always said ZANU PF uses people like chewing gum.
    Which war are they still fighting? Cant they see they are being chewed by zanu pf? They better jump out before they follow kudzayi to the “state house”

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    Car door tea care moon 10 years ago

    If the police can’t contain and handle these thugs, send for mapostori to sort them out.

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    protocol 10 years ago

    Is there no other proper way of aquiring besides invading, especially for mature pple like war vets -mature in the sense that they have known protocols since the birth of independenc?