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53 farm invaders arrested


MASVINGO – Police have arrested 53 people believed to be Zanu PF supporters following a new wave of farm invasions in the province.

Suspected war veterans reportedly invaded white-owned farms following allegations that some of them had used their links with Zanu PF bigwigs to be spared eviction following the land reform programme.

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tineyi Matake refused to comment on the arrests, saying the matter was now before the courts.

But sources at the Masvingo Magistrates’ Court said the 53 who were arrested on Friday were yet to appear in court.

The Masvingo provincial lands committee is investigating claims that white farmers were receiving protection from Zanu PF officials.

Provincial administrator Felix Chikovo could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, earlier reports quoted him saying an investigation was underway to identify “ghost farmers”.

“Allegations brought to our attention reveal that some people are fronting for the white farmers,” Chikovo said.

“The allegations revealed that some whites avoided the land reform programme by fraudulently transferring land to some black farmers. We have already set up a taskforce to interrogate those that have been implicated.”

The latest invasions came amid reports the province had run out of land for resettlement.

The government is battling to resettle about 1 500 villagers affected by the construction of the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam.

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