via Jabulani Sibanda defends farm invaders – DailyNews Live 15 September 2014 by Jeffrey Muvundusi
BULAWAYO – War veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda said youths in Bulawayo who invaded farms on the outskirts of the city were victims of the current poor economic situation.
Zanu PF activists riding under the auspices of Bulawayo Chapter of Youth in Farming
Organisation led by Tariro Magovanyika, 34 and Mark Muunganirwa, 35 have in the past weeks invaded about five farms.
Umguza MP Obert Mpofu recently called for the arrest of the invaders describing their acts as illegal while party national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and Bulawayo Provincial chairman Callistus Ndlovu have disowned them.
But, speaking for the first time since the onset of a new wave of farm invasions, Sibanda said calling for the arrest of the agitated youths was missing the whole point with regard to empowering the growing number of the jobless young population.
“They are victims of unemployment, they are not criminals,” Sibanda told the Daily News. “Give us the opportunity to talk to them on how to handle these difficult circumstances they find themselves in and the magistrate is not the right person to talk to because he can only put them into prison and that does not help the matter,” he said.
The two youth leaders have a pending court case where they are
being charged of criminal trespass in Bulawayo City Council-owned Mazwi Nature Reserve.
The war veterans leader said the land grabs were an epitome of a malfunctioning industry.
“They are invading because they are land-hungry. It is actually a sign that our people are desperate considering that our industry has collapsed here in Bulawayo.”
He, however, criticised the invasion of Mazwi Nature Reserve, a move he described as ill advised. “Mazwi is Bulawayo City Council’s land.”
Asked about the recent invasion of a Figtree Farm owned by David Connolly, by a top
President Robert Mugabe aide Ray Ndhlukula, Sibanda said the title deeds held by the white farmer had been overtaken by time.
“When did Connolly invade our country to take a farm here?” asked Sibanda.
“He must have a lease for that farm, if he is still holding onto title deeds for that farm, that has been overtaken by events.
“We want all white farmers that bought land during colonial time to respect the present land distribution method by applying for a 99-year lease from government.”