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Ex-combatants slam land grabs



WAR veteran Lazarus Nyaundi, whose farm is under siege from a Zanu PF youth leader amid a surge in black-on-black land invasions, has written to Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka seeking his urgent intervention, The NewsHawks has learnt.


 Nyaundi, a retired Air Force of Zimbabwe group captain, wrote to Masuka after the Chitungwiza magistrates’ court ruled against his ownership and occupation of the farm.

 In the ruling delivered last week, the court convicted his two relatives for destroying crops planted by the Zanu PF youth leader on the farm.

 The relatives were slapped with a 24-month sentence each, with five months suspended on condition that they do not commit a similar offence in the next five years.

A further nine months were suspended on condition that they pay US$1 950.50 immediately while a further 12 months were suspended on condition that they perform 420 hours of community service at Muda Clinic.

 Maundi’s farm has been targeted over the past two decades as confirmed by police reports made with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Beatrice on 24 December 2003 and 19 April 2006.

The siege at the war veteran’s farm is happening at a time when the welfare of combatants of the war of liberation has been raising a stink both in government and the ruling Zanu PF.

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) is demanding that social support and welfare services be made readily available, which include healthcare, counselling, access to land, housing and other social welfare programmes.

 Nyaundi, who was settled at A1 Village Plot No 27, Verdun Farm Village, Ward 9, Beatrice, Seke district, is facing displacement by Isaac Zivanayi Mugwara, a youth leader in the ruling Zanu PF.

“My name is 7009 Gp. Cpt (rtd) Lazarus Nyaundi. My family was settled on the above quoted village as from the year 2001 to date which ‘state’ gesture relieved me to carry out my national and international professional assignments to meet family requirements. The exigencies of family supplementary requirements took me to Canada in which country I am heavily involved in voluntary Missionary work,” reads Nyaundi’s letter seen by The NewsHawks.

 “In early year of 2021, I learnt through my resident family (two adults and seven children) that my plot had been re-allocated to Cde Isaac Mugwara. The message was delivered by Cde Isaac Mugwara who arrogantly introduced himself as the new owner.”

 “As from that year my family life has been turned upside down with numerable harassments and threats on my family lives. Faced with this crisis, I had to take leave of absence from work and fly back to solve this crisis. I have learned a lot from my personal experience. I can safely conclude that your District Lands Officer (DLO) official conduct borders on; fraudulent clerical work aimed at taking away my legal rights as an accomplished senior citizen who contributed to the national war of liberation and sustenance of that legacy.

” Nyaundi said the double allocation of the land in question undermines the work he has done in the liberation struggle.

“Sir, having contributed so much for my country, making a life’s sacrifice by leaving a ‘village’ to join the liberation war, by God’s grace survived and still humbling myself and family to settle on village whose farming area is a wetland and gum tree plantation and did a lot in bringing together fragmented families into a loving community of progressive village brings emotional discomfort,” said Nyaundi..

“The unprocedural double allocation without regard to resident family (23 years) and its community consequential psychological impact to minors let alone adults requires your Ministerial attention. I remain hopeful of your Honourable intervention. Your Humble Loyal Servant.

” A police report made of 24 December 2003 after an attack at the farm reads: “On the 24th day of December 2003 at about 1800 hours, four accused persons approached Kudzai Nyaundi, a relative residing on the farm, who was at home with his young brother Farai Nyaundi and their grandfather Mr. Nyaundi (93). They were armed and Kudzai demanded to know why they were there. They flashed their government IDs pretending to be detectives searching for weapons they claimed were left by former farmer farm owner Colleen Patterson for their father Lazarus Nyaundi to use.”

“They manhandled Kudzai and forced their way into the house. They locked Kudzai and the maid in the wardrobe after threatening them with death. They then ransacked the house and stole the following; 24-inch television, Turbo VCR and cash, all valued at ZW$5 083 000.”

 The matter was reported on 24 December 2003 and investigated by police in Beatrice under CR128/12/03 and later CID Beatrice DR13/01/04.

The war veterans’ association has urged the government to uphold rights enshrined in the constitution to ensure justice for the war veteran.

“ZNLWVA expresses profound sadness over the situation where a war veteran and retired public official, who dedicated their all for the betterment of their motherland, is unable to resolve a land conflict concerning a six-hectare farmland,” Edward Dube, the ZNLWVA secretary-general, told The NewsHawks.

 “In light of this distressing background, it is imperative that the government takes action in accordance with the constitutional and statutory rights enshrined in Section 23(3), 3 (i) of the Constitution, as well as the provisions outlined in the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act (Chapter 17:12) of 2020. The ZNLWVA calls for the government to exercise these rights and provisions to address the land dispute and ensure justice for the war veteran who has contributed significantly to the nation’s liberation struggle and public service.”

There has been a wave of dispossession and repossession of land in Zimbabwe, targeting people perceived as government critics as well as vulnerable communal communities.

For instance, rural communities in Zimbabwe, such as those in Chilonga in Chiredzi, Dinde in Hwange and villages in Chipinge are fighting to retain their ancestral land, following displacements effected with express government approval.

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