CHIREDZI war veterans have called for the removal from office of minister of State for Masvingo Ezra Chadzamira (pictured), accusing him of corruptly allocating land in the district to outsiders while sidelining locals.
The war veterans held a protest at Palm Tree Hotel in Chiredzi on Monday where Chadzamira and other ruling party provincial leaders were about to attend a meeting.
They also called for the removal of all the provincial leaders for working to enrich themselves instead of serving the people.
The development came a few days after Chadzamira was briefly arrested by investigators from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) for alleged abuse of office involving the allocation of land in the province but the case was turned down by prosecutors after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s intervention.
Chadzamira is Mnangagwa’s political ally.
The Mnangagwa faction believes a faction led by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga instigated Chadzamira’s arrest as part of a ploy to oust him from the provincial leadership.
Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZLWVA) Chiredzi district chairperson Killer Makuni confirmed the demonstration to The NewsHawks.
He said the demonstrators, who wielded placards, are members of his association who are unhappy with the parceling out of land in Chiredzi.
Makuni said the allocations were done without input from the Chiredzi district lands committee and should be reversed. He also confirmed that war veterans had approached senior government officials, including Chiwenga, to register their displeasure.
Chiwenga visited Chiredzi in April and ordered Chadzamira to reverse the allocations following complaints from war veterans and Chiredzi residents. Senior Zanu PF officials, their relatives and security agents were among beneficiaries of the allocations. The allocations were done after Chadzamira unilaterally dissolved the Chiredzi district lands committee early last year.
Zacc in March dispatched a team to the area to investigate the allocation of land and find out if stipulated procedure was followed, with locals, including government officials, telling the commission that land was allegedly being distributed by Chadzamira and provincials leaders to people who were paying large sums of money.
Among the beneficiaries of the sugarcane plots on schedule 17 of 2020 which The NewsHawks is in possession of are Samora Mnangagwa, Tatenda Matemadanda, Daniel Chadzamira, Masvingo provincial development coordinator Jefter Sakupwanya, provincial medical director Amadeous Shamhu, Mthandazo Ncube who is Chadzamira’s security aid, Zaka West legislator Ophious Murambiwa, Muchareveyi Chamisa who is Zanu PF provincial administrator, as well as ruling party youths, war veterans and companies linked to Zanu PF members.
The plots were developed for the government by Tongaat Hullet under the Kilimanjaro Project in Hippo Valley Estates at a cost of US$40 million. Dubbed “Kilimanjaro”, the project will develop virgin land into sugar cane plantations at Triangle and Hippo Valley estates in Chiredzi as part of the firm’s drive to increase aggregate sugar output while also empowering indigenous outgrower farmers who will be allocated plots on about 3 300 hectares being developed on a cost-recovery basis.
Makuni urged the government to remove from office all corrupt officials.
“Our members protested during a meeting on Monday to show their displeasure on how land is being corruptly allocated in Chiredzi. Land, including sugarcane plots, is being given to outsiders in our area. If you look at it, there are less than 10% locals who have land. The other challenge is that we are now seeing people who were allocated land during the land reform being given notices to vacate their homes to pave way for new people,” he said.
“We approached the VP over this issue earlier this year since we are the custodians of land in the country. We went to war for the people and we cannot fold our hands while a handful of people are benefitting. Government should urgently address this issue; if it means replacing corrupt leaders, then let it be. We want all allocations which were done without the approval of the district lands committee to be reversed with immediate effect.”
Efforts to get a comment from Chadzamira, who is also the ruling party’s provincial chairperson, were fruitless as calls to his mobile phone was not being answered.
However, a senior provincial Zanu PF member, who is aligned to the Mnangagwa faction, told The NewsHawks that the political temperatures within the ruling party in the province are high with a faction aligned to Chiwenga utilising all possible chances to have Chadzamira fired. The official said Chadzamira, as a member of the provincial lands committee, only makes recommendations although the ministry of Lands is the allocating authority.
“Things are not well in our party in the province. The faction aligned to the VP is utilising all chances available to nail Chadzamira but, truly speaking, land allocations are done by officials from the lands ministry. We will soon retaliate, all these guys piling pressure on Chadzamira are dirty and it is a surprise to see them sacrificing our leader,” the senior party member said.