THE six war veterans allocated hunting concessions in Masvingo’s Mujingwe Conservancy have pleaded with President Robert Mugabe to intervene and nullify their eviction by South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman, Vusumuzi Mazibuko, who kicked them out recently claiming ownership of the business.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The ex-combatants claimed that they had invested nearly $1 million in the 10 000-hectare conservancy and were taken aback after their 25-year lease agreement was cancelled under a cloud.
They accused senior officials in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, particularly former permanent secretary Prince Mupazviriho, for pushing for their eviction through corrupt means, a charge Mupazviriho has denied.
According to a memorandum of agreement signed between the war veterans and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority dated 2014, the ex-fighters had a lease agreement running until 2033.
“This agreement shall be deemed to have commenced on January 1, 2008 and shall continue and endure thereafter for a period of 25 years until December 31, 2033, unless sooner terminated as hereinafter stipulated,” part of the lease agreement read.
“We invested over $1m in that project. We have been dutifully paying our dues, but have for the few years been barred from hunting for various reasons until we were pushed out to pave way for Mazibuko whom we are told has the backing and protection of some senior politicians.
“Our hands are tied as we cannot fight the ministers and other senior politicians and we can only, but ask our President to assist us get back our property,” Shoko said.
Mazibuko did not respond to questions from Southern Eye.
Last year, the war veterans engaged the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa, who, in a letter to Mugabe, said she was against threats to evict the ex-combatants.
“These are the people who have fully participated and contributed on this project for the past seven years to date. Of interest is that they are all war veterans and they deserve government protection.
“A lot of funds have been put on this project namely salaries of 17 workers for the past seven years, fuel to pump water for the game, provision of food to the workers and maintenance of the perimeter fence to the farm,” Mahofa said in a letter dated May 16, 2016 addressed to Mugabe’s office and copied to Environment, Water and Climate minister, Oppah Muchinguri.