War vets languish in prison over land dispute

33 war veterans were yesterday arrested by police for allegedly defying a court order to vacate Chikore farm involving a land dispute with Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, Stan Mudenge, despite having appealed against the court order.

The war veterans are representing more than 60 families Mudenge is fighting to evict from the farm formerly owned by whiter commercial farmer, Peter Buchan who was evicted at the height of the chaotic land invasions of 2000.

The war veterans who are represented by Martin Mureri of Matutu, Kwirira and Associates are allegedly unlawfully detained in custody at Masvingo remand prison by Magistrate Dorothy Mwanyisa.

But their lawyer Mureri said the detention was unlawful and political as Mudenge is allegedly forcing the Judiciary to detain them.

“It is surprising that my clients were arrested and detained unlawfully by the police and the state after I had filed an appeal against judgement to evict them long back just after the order was given. They should not be arrested until the case is heard in the High court, this is now politics taking centre stage,” he said.

The war veterans say they were the first to invade the farm from the Buchan, the former owner but Mudenge was using his political muscle to push them out and vowed to fight him to the highest court of the country.

Prosecutor Frank Chirairo told the court that the war veterans defied a court ruling to leave the farm before 4 October this year and cited that as the reason why they were detained in custody.

But Mureri said he has since notified the court that he had filed a notice of appeal and should release his clients.

Some of the war veterans languishing at Masvingo remand prison include, Peter Mbwanda, Esnath Sigauke, Emily Gandi and Eunice Moyo to mention few, who are above the age of 70.

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