Six war veterans who were settled at a conservancy in Gwanda in 2000 are reportedly squaring up for a fight with three Zanu PF bigwigs — including a senator from the province — who are reportedly trying to eject the former freedom fighters from the piece of land, to pan for gold.
The Zanu PF officials who include Senator Japhet Dube of Gwanda, former Gwanda South legislator Abednico Ncube — also a member of the party’s politburo and provincial administrator Rennie Kibi — are allegedly attempting to elbow out the war veterans from Longueville Farm in Gwanda, near the provincial capital’s airstrip.
Kibi is allegedly being used as a front by Ncube and Dube to peg the farm into mining claims by virtue of being the party’s administrator in the province and responsible for party projects.
She is reported to control more than 100 mining claims between her and some of her children.
Contacted for comment, Ncube was offensive and threatened to shoot this reporter.
“You are a liar and that’s a deliberate political lie! A bullet should be fired into your head. Get away!” he said before hanging up.
Kibi also could not shed any light on the matter and referred questions to Dube.
Yesterday, Dube dismissed the issue as a “lie”. Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku, who is also the provincial chairperson of the Land Committee, professed ignorance of the matter. However, sources said she was aware of the issue.
One of the war veterans who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said the problem started three weeks ago when Kibi approached the war veterans saying the party wanted to prospect for gold in the conservancy.
“At that stage, we allowed the party to come in with detectors and they initially brought in five then 15, and the following day 48 saying some belonged to the youths, disabled, women’s league and a lot more. We had agreed that the party would take 50% of the gold and that the other half would remain at the farm.
The six war veterans had been on the farm since 2000 and said they co-existed with the previous owner, identified as Nicol who now occupies part of the farm.
Nicol’s son Shawn was reluctant to speak to NewsDay but confirmed Zanu PF officials approached them advising they wanted to peg the area but turned them away as the property was a protected area.
“Yes they came and advised me that they wanted to peg for mining claims. However, they could not do that because the farm is protected by the Parks and Wildlife Authority. The whole of Gwanda is being prospected for gold,” said Shawn.
The conservancy is home to a variety of animal species which include leopards, zebras, giraffes, kudus and antelopes.