- Southern Africa
Zimbabwe: Veterans demand 20% of lands and mines amid threats
Zimbabwe’s liberation fighters have declared that they are entitled to a 20 per cent share of any resource in the country saying they are the poorest lot in the southern African nation.
Their demand cover land, residential and business stands in all cities and mineral resources.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLVA) spokesperson, Retired Colonel Sebastian Beta, at the weekend said the former guerrillas are ready to wage an economic empowerment war.
“We are entitled to a 20 percent share of the national cake. By this I mean we should get a 20 percent share of land allocations under the land reform programme, residential stands allocations in all towns and cities in the country, natural resources and anything to do with mines,” Beta.
He said they fought the protracted armed struggle with the British to gain both political and economic power which has long been allusive.
Beta says it is their right to claim 20 percent of all national resources claiming that the “war veterans are some of the poorest people around despite the work that they have done for this country.”
So serious is the issue that the comrades would ratify the move by January 29 to 31 during their congress.
In the last decade, the veterans were in the forefront of farm invasions that left scores of people, mostly white’s, dead.
Mugabe’s land seizures for friends
Long time ruler President Mugabe started the often-violent seizure of white-owned farms in 2000, after he suffered his first defeat at the polls over a referendum to entrench his presidential powers.
He said the farms would go to poor blacks but many of the 5,000 seized farms went to his friends and cronies, however.
The seizures touched off an economic collapse in the southern African country that used to thrive on exports of food, minerals and tobacco.
Mugabe, who has ruled since his guerrilla army helped overthrow white minority rule in 1980, has seen his popularity battered by the economic crisis.
Land reform has been an emotional issue in Zimbabwe since the black majority overthrew white minority rule in 1980, after more than a decade of fighting.
During colonial times, white settlers who came to what was then called Rhodesia to seek their fortunes in agriculture and mining forced blacks off ancestral lands.
Mugabe insists he is trying to correct the wrongs of Zimbabwe’s colonial past.