War vets leader under G40 siege

VICE-President Phelekezela Mphoko is accused of politically targeting Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general Victor Matemadanda whom he wants kicked out of a farm protected under a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements (Bippa) with Australia.

By Elias Mambo

The dispute has political undertones as Matemadanda, an ally of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been one of the most vocal and militant war veteran leaders in the succession wrangle pitting Mnangagwa and the G40 group reportedly led by First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Sources in the Lands Ministry this week said they were ordered by Mphoko to evict Matemadanda who recently claimed war veterans had passed a vote-of-no-confidence in Mphoko and his G40 allies.

“Mphoko wants Matemadanda to be evicted from his farm which is located in Mvuma,” the source said.

“Matemadanda was first offered a farm in Mashonaland West province next to the outspoken Women’s League secretary for finance, Sarah Mahoka. He occupied the farm before moving to Midlands where he was offered another farm in Mvuma, formerly owned by a co-operative of white farmers.”

Matemadanda, who has been on that farm since 2011, feels he is being victimised for leading war veterans to fearlessly appose G40’s succession plans.

“I am worried that a whole vice-president can victimise his own people in order to protect the interests of the whites, “Matemadanda said.

“I moved to Mvuma after the First Lady Grace Mugabe intervened and persuaded the Lands ministry to move me from Mashonaland West province.

“Following the war veterans vote-of-no-confidence on Mphoko, he has since targeted me as if I am the one who pushed for it. This was a collective decision and it had nothing to do with me.”

In March, the war veterans passed a vote-of-no-confidence in Mphoko, accusing him of fanning factionalism and tribalism in Zanu PF.

“He (Mphoko) is not ashamed of what he is doing to his fellow countrymen. He is still living in an expensive hotel and has even refused an official office which was used by others,” he said.

Mphoko, however, said the eviction was justified as the farm was protected under Bippa.

“That farm falls under Bippa. You can get more information on such farms from the Foreign Affairs office,” Mphoko said.

Under the Bippa terms, if the government takes over a farm it must pay for both the land and the infrastructure. For other farms not protected by such agreements, the government is only obliged to pay for equipment and not the land itself.