War vets grapple over farm

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War veterans in Umguza are locked in a bitter wrangle over a farm amid accusations the Bulawayo war veterans leader Themba Ncube was threatening to evict fellow former fighters from where they were settled.

The ex-combatants said Ncube had given them up to the end of this month to vacate Springs Farm in Umguza. Ncube has, however, dismissed the claims describing them as a fabrication to cover up “for their own wrongdoing”.

But the war veterans told NewsDay Ncube had detained them on Tuesday threatening to throw them out of Springs Farm.

They claim they were settled at the farm under the land reform programme.

“We had a big problem on Tuesday when a lot of war veterans from Bulawayo led by (Themba) Ncube invited us for a meeting and told us that they wanted to burn down our homes to force us out of the farm,” said one war veteran.

“They detained us from morning until around 3pm and made us sit on the ground. They hoped to get land from where we are resettled and wanted to put homes even on the land set aside for pastures.

“We refused and stopped them when they wanted to cut down trees for wood. We are sure that is what roused their anger.”

However, Ncube dismissed the claims as false and fabricated.

“Why should they claim that they were detained by me? Find out from the chief, the headman and the District Administrator. You will know that there is a letter written by the chief to them,” Ncube said.

“They stand accused of stocktheft and harassing people whom they force to pay fines for alleged trespassing.

“Why do they say they were detained by me when some of them were collected by the police to attend the meeting? To me, that’s nonsense,” Ncube added.