ED dangles carrot to war veterans

By Everson Mushava

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has ordered all the country’s eight provincial ministers to reserve land and allocate it to war veterans. It also ordered that all land disputes involving the veterans must be ruled in their favour.

A letter ref: MIN LAWCRR/2/1 dated June 17 to the provincial ministers, by Lands minister Perrance Shiri, said all the provinces should identify vacant land and prioritise its allocation to the liberation war veterans.

“In line with the noble objective of empowering veterans of the liberation struggle enunciated above, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement is
mandated to prioritise allocation of lands to the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who participated in the protracted struggle for the liberation of the country,” the letter read.

Most war veterans got land under former President Robert Mugabe’s fast-track land reform programme of 2000 that dispossessed the majority of commercial white farmers from prime land.
The move alienated Mugabe resulting in him being, accused of gross human rights abuses which invited western sanctions to the country.

Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe in a military backed operation in November 2017 tried to reach out to the whites and vowed to compensate them for the developments made on the dispossessed land.

His government is also in the process of dispossessing some resettled farmers who have not been productive in a bid to restore food security to a country that has been food insecure
since the 2000 land reform programme.

But Shiri said the mandate of his ministry compelled the provincial ministers to play their role in identifying and prioritising the allocation of land to the heroes of the 1970s
liberation struggle.
According to the letter, Mashonaland East, West and Central as well as Manicaland provinces were all ordered to reserve 1 000 hectares of land for war veterans, Midlands would reserve 2
000 hectares, with Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North required to reserve

3 000 hectares each for the combatants.

“Hon Ministers, the above allocations of land should ideally be at one place, but if the situation on the ground does not permit, the allocation should at least be in the same
geographical area for ease of administration by the war veterans in that province,” Shiri said.

“May you also kindly take not that the subject directive should be implemented with immediate effect as it takes precedence over other allocations for land. As such, it would be greatly appreciated if respective allocation schedules could reach my office before June 27, 2019.”

Shiri added: “May you further kindly take note that in the event of land disputes, under no circumstances should war veterans have his or her offer cancelled.”

The ministers, Shiri said, should also adhere to the implementation of the 20% quota policy aimed at ensuring that war veterans were empowered to pursue economic projects in the
provinces.

“You, therefore, need to clearly indicate, on all your land allocation schedules, the 20% quota that you would have reserved for war veterans.”
The letter was copied to Defence and War Veterans minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Lands permanent secretary Ringson Chitsiko and Lands management director Marius Dzinoreva.

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