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Grief as war vets are evicted

War veteran Livingstone Nyamadzawo wailed like a grieved person as he watched a messenger of court dump his bumper maize harvest on the roadside.

BY NUNURAI JENA

A messenger of court truck loads Livingstone Nyamadzawo’s maize after he was evicted from  Stanely Farm in Chegutu. the evicted families were dumped with their belongings by the roadside.
A messenger of court truck loads Livingstone Nyamadzawo’s maize after he was evicted from Stanely Farm in Chegutu. the evicted families were dumped with their belongings by the roadside.

Nyamadzawo was among more than 150 people evicted last week from two farms — Stanely and Doroth More — near Chegutu.

Most of the evictees were resettled in 2000 at the height of the controversial land reform programme and are “armed” with offer letters.

Nyamadzawo, an ex-soldier was allocated 139 hectares of land from the 905-hectare Stanely Farm previously owned by Francis Claude Witkins before the land reform exercise.

He settled in the area while serving in the army and as a Zanu PF commissar.

Problems started last year when former executive at a local bank Samuel Nhakaniso came armed with an offer letter, claiming that he was the rightful owner of the farm.

The case is before High Court judge Justice David Mangota who is yet to pass judgement.

“I’m surprised that I’m being evicted yet the case is still to be concluded by the courts besides my offer letter has not been cancelled,” Nyamadzawo said.

Nyamadzawo like other evictees that include former liberation war fighters has nowhere to go.

“I don’t have anywhere to go and they are destroying my command agriculture maize crop. How am I going to repay the inputs advanced to me?” he asked.

Nyamadzawo’s sentiments were echoed by the local village head Josephine Matanhike who said it was pathetic that the war veterans were being evicted when President Robert Mugabe was there.

“Command agriculture was implemented and the president encouraged it but now command agriculture has been thrown on the road when the president is there. These people have offer letters, it is clear that the judicial system is corrupt,” said Matanhike.

Another war veteran Tichaona Shangiwa who is also being evicted said it was sad that during the liberation struggle people’s homes were destroyed by the Ian Smith regime.

“Now one of our own is destroying the only homes we have,” he said.

Tawanda Mhiripiri said he had nowhere to go and now awaits government to resettle them elsewhere.

Most evictees were of the view that the former farm owner was using Nhakaniso and lands officials to take back his farm.

According to papers in possession of The Standard, Witkins bought the two farms Stanely and Doroth for more than $40 000 and $18 000 respectively in 1972 before government took it for land redistribution.

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