AS evictions of newly-resettled farmers intensify countrywide, war veterans have charged that senior Zanu PF officials are targeting former combatants to stop them from campaigning for their col
leagues who want to contest in party primary elections this month.
The latest evictions have seen hundreds of settlers, the majority of them former freedom fighters, being forcibly driven off the land they occupied at the height of the 2000 land invasions.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association recently announced that its members would challenge senior Zanu PF officials for positions in the party in all constituencies in the primary elections.
War veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda this week said the current spate of evictions was aimed at stopping war veterans from contesting in the primary elections and subsequently in next year’s parliamentary election.
“If anyone is throwing war veterans out of farms just because they are challenging them then those people should be prepared to throw 14 million Zimbabweans out of the country because nothing will stop the war veterans from contesting in all the country’s constituencies,” said Sibanda.
Zanu PF sources who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent this week said the evictions had nothing to do with correcting anomalies but “a shock response” by party leaders who used war veterans as campaigners and grassroots organisers in previous elections.
“The big fish are afraid because they realise that if war veterans contest the primaries senior party members will lose. They know war veterans are popular with grassroots voters,” said the source.
The government has allowed land invaders to stay on the farms since 2000 but just three weeks ago, it started evicting settlers from Porta Farm. The evictions have since spread in Mashonaland West allegedly to pave way for top government and Zanu PF officials under the A2 resettlement model.
Sibanda said in other areas senior party officials were pushing war veterans out due to greed.
“Our members are being pushed out because we openly stated that we would contest elections in all wards in the country. But we are not going to sit back while our members are being kicked out of the farms by some of these greedy senior party officials,” Sibanda said.