200 war vets arrested

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ABOUT 200 war veterans were arrested for invading Tongaat Hullets’ sugarcane estates in Chiredzi between the last weekend and yesterday.

TATENDA CHITAGU
OWN CORRESPONDENT

The arrested war veterans are largely from the Tshangani tribe that feels side-lined and neglected by the government.

They allege that they were ignored when some sugarcane plots were parcelled out at the height of the chaotic land reform programme.

The war vets invaded the Siringa section and parts of Hippo Valley Estate, but their luck ran out when anti-riot police swooped on them.

Anti-riot police maintained a heavy presence at the estate to quell any further disturbances.

According to sources, 50 of the former freedom fighters were nabbed in the Hippo Valley Estates in Chiredzi while 23 were arrested in Triangle over the weekend.

About 100 others were rounded up yesterday.

Acting Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nkululeko Nduna could neither deny nor confirm the arrests saying he was not in the office.

“I am out of Masvingo in Bhasera. I do not have the details, call our headquarters in Harare,” Nduna said.

Masvingo provincial war veterans’ chairperson Francis Nhando confirmed the arrest of some of his colleagues yesterday and said they were still in police custody.

“It is true that there are war veterans who have been arrested in Chiredzi. They are still in police custody,” he said.

He denied that the war vets had invaded land belonging to Tongaat Hullets, but said the sugar concern had actually encroached into their land.

“We did not invade plots of people with offer letters. We got into our land which Tongaat had taken,” Nhando said.

He accused the local Zanu PF leadership of corruption and abusing the police to fight factional wars within the war vets’ body.
“There are some of us in Zanu PF who are selling out.

“They are corrupt and working with the enemy and they are also abusing the police by setting them on us,” Nhando said, without mentioning any names.

Zanu PF provincial chairperson Killian Gwanetsa was not reachable for a comment.

Nhando said the local Zanu PF leadership was working in cahoots with foreigners to protect their interests at the expense of the black majority.

“They are blocking us from getting land yet they already own the land. They are being used by the whites, but we will fight them,” he said.