Zimbabwe: Blacks and Government fight over White land

Reading time 2 min.

Government’s controversial land redistribution policy has been put to the test in the southern province of Masvingo as former fighters for Zimbabwe’s liberation take a cabinet minister to court after he evicted them from a farm they occupied after evicting the former white farmer.

From our correspondent in Harare

The war veterans who were evicted from Chikore Farm, about 20 kilometres south of Masvingo city, to pave way for higher and tertiary education minister Stan Mudenge, have now demanded $Z10 trillion by way of compensation.

The former freedom fighters, who invaded the farm last year, have filed the lawsuit against the cabinet minister, arguing that they were evicted and forced to leave without harvesting their crops.

According to papers filed at the High Court in circuit in Masvingo, the former freedom fighters are claiming that the minister arrived just in time to harvest the crops which included tomatoes, oranges and flowers.

“We invaded Chikore farm in 2004 on the understanding that we were going to benefit during the land redistribution exercise,” the war veterans say in an affidavit. “We spent three years on the property and during the farming season of 2006 we were ordered to leave the farm to pave way for the minister.

“We were not given time to harvest our crops. To our surprise the minister only came to harvest our crops. Several tonnes of tomatoes, oranges, flowers and onions went down the drain and we received nothing. “We are, therefore, demanding compensation to the tune of $10 trillion for our crops.”

War veterans Masvingo chairman Isaiah Muzenda confirmed that the dispute between the war veterans and the minister had spilled into the courts. “We want justice to be done,” said Muzenda. “Our colleagues were ill-treated and I think they have a genuine case. We lave everything to the courts to decide”.

Mudenge, who is the Zanu-PF candidate for Masvingo North, yesterday professed ignorance over the case. “I am yet to be briefed about that case,” he said. “At the moment I have not seen any document relating to that issue.”

Problems at Chikore Farm started in 2004 when war veterans were used by Mudenge to evict the former property owner, a Mr Buchan.

After evicting the former owner, the war veterans occupied the farm for three years but Mudenge later turned against the invaders. He successfully sought an eviction order arguing that he was the sole owner of the farm since he had an offer later from government.

The war veterans tried unsuccessfully to block the eviction and as a result property worth billions of dollars then was taken over by the cabinet minister.

Zimbabwe  Read latest news and features from Zimbabwe : business, politics, culture, life & style, entertainment and sports
Support Follow Afrik-News on Google News