War vets in court over attempted murder

Ten war veterans accused of attacking a fellow vet, Mufaro Mukaro, in Masvingo east commercial farming area last month have applied for a discharge after appearing in court.

Lands and rural resettlement minister Douglas Mombershora.
Lands and rural resettlement minister Douglas Mombershora.

The ten face charges of attempted murder during a land dispute.

Masvingo magistrate Jabulani Mzinyathi is expected give a ruling on August 30 on the matter in which the former freedom fighters are pleading not guilty.

The state is alleging that the 10 teamed up and attacked Mukaro with an axe and left him for the dead. The state case says that the men, along with some villagers, accused black commercial farmers, including Mukaro, of having acquired the land under suspicious circumstances and then failing to use it properly.

The fully packed court heard that the ten were armed with axes and knobkerries on the fateful day.

Relatives of the complainant and the accused filled the public gallery, leaving magistrate Mzinyathi with no option but to order some of the people out of the courtroom.

At the close of the state case, the accused applied to be discharged.

Meanwhile tension remains high in Masvingo east following the attack on Mukaro.

War veteran leaders in Masvingo have condemned the attack and the fresh farm invasions in the area, saying that the vets should follow laid-down procedures to get land.

Lands and rural resettlement minister Douglas Mombershora said government would not tolerate chaotic farm seizures.

“We have laid-down procedures if one needs land and, as government, we have a policy that there should be no more farm invasions in the country, hence we are saying to those doing it to stop and move out of those farms,” he said.

Senior government and ruling Zanu (PF) officials have farms in Masvingo East commercial area. They include justice minister Emmerson Munangagwa and Zaka central MP Paradza Chakona.

Last year, Mombeshora ordered a land audit in the area following similar land disputes, which saw several people being evicted from farms they had been occupying since the year 2000.

The villagers and former freedom fighters in the area accuse minister Mombeshora of sweeping under the carpet a land audit of the area that they said could have exposed multiple land ownership in the country.

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