Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
WAR veterans, who played a leading role in the Land Reform Programme at the turn of the millennium, have reassured farmers to prepare their land and disregard acts of mischief from the opposition which is falsely claiming that the Government was giving land back to white former farmers.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) chairman, Cde Chris Mutsvangwa, warned the country’s detractors, who were deliberately twisting the Government move to honour Bilateral Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) and give land to a few black farmers-who were affected by the Land Reform Programme against spreading falsehoods to distract farmers.
“We want to give total assurance to the preparing farmers to proceed with the land preparations to make sure that Zimbabwe is food sufficient and also that Zimbabwe can export.
“They should proceed unperturbed. Your land is safe, President Mnangagwa is not in any way reversing the land reform programme,” Cde Mutsvangwa said at a meeting of the executive of the war veterans yesterday.
The meeting was attended by the war veterans secretary-general Cde Victor Matemadanda and Zanu PF secretary for war veterans Cde Douglas Mahiya.
Also in attendance were provincial chairpersons, namely; Cdes Hoyini Samuel Bhila (Harare), Gift Kagweda (Manicaland), Daniel Sigauke (Mashonaland East), Sam Parirenyatwa (Mashonaland Central), Ignatius Murindi (Masvingo), Virginia Mupasu (Midlands), Sonny Mguni (Matebeleland South), Cephas Ncube (Bulawayo) and Cornelius Muwoni (Mashonaland West).
The meeting was convened to correct misconceptions on the recent announcement by the Government that less than 37 white former farmers, who were protected by BIPPAs when land reform was carried out, would either get their pieces of land back where circumstances allowed or be offered alternative land.
“We are therefore contemptuous of anybody who now tries to become a champion for the restitution of land to the black majority, be holier than the Pope, and try to mislead the population of Zimbabwe and the farmers at this juncture to say that the Government of President Mnangagwa is reneging on the land reform issue and is moving to restore land to the former white commercial farmers.
“This is mischief at its worst. It comes at a time when the farmers are busy preparing for what promises to be a very exciting agricultural season because of the reports we are getting from the specialist on global climate,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
“As the Zimbabwe National Liberation War veterans we are stockholders, beyond stockholders in the issue of the land in Zimbabwe.
“All of us, as young men and young girls, fought in the war that gave Zimbabwe its freedom in the 1970s, so the issue of land is dear to us. It is very emotional, that is why 40 years into independence we remain preoccupied with the issue of land.
“We were at the forefront of the land restitution programme, the fast track land programme, two decades ago. We are therefore alive to any issues of land in Zimbabwe more than any other constituency because that is what we fought for”.
Cde Mutsvangwa said the recently signed Global Compensation Agreement between Government and former white farmers that will see the later receiving compensation for improvements on the farms and not the land itself is a demonstration of the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa’s commitment to the rule of law and constitutionalism.
“We are strongly behind President Mnangagwa and his Government together with the White Commercial farmers for coming to the agreement on compensation.
“This is an agreement in accordance with our constitution, which was passed overwhelmingly in Parliament, but we also enjoyed near universal support in a referendum prior to it being brought to Parliament. Noteworthy is the fact that the MDC as the main opposition in the country was part of this process”.
The war veterans applauded President Mnangagwa’s re-engagement initiative, a move that is bearing fruit as was recently demonstrated by the lifting of sanctions on CBZ by the United States.
“We now see the American Government giving us a gesture of lifting the sanctions against CBZ. We are most delighted. It is the largest bank in the country. It can now carry transactions unhindered in the financial market of the world.
“We want America to move in the new direction of easing and totally removing those sanctions against Zimbabwe so that people of Zimbabwe can be given a chance to access foreign direct investment and other sources of capital”.