Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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War veterans grab paddocks in Matabeleland South

War veterans grab paddocks in Matabeleland South

September 2, 2012 in Local
BULAWAYO — War veterans have grabbed paddocks from villagers in Natisa area 
in Kezi, Matabeleland South province, resulting in scores of cattle dying 
due to lack of pastures.

Report by Nqobani Ndlovu
The invaded land, which covers 1 500 hectares, is part of Maleme Ranch, 
owned by a farmer, Peter Canningham.

The paddocks were allocated to the villagers by Canningham in 2000 as part 
of his social responsibility programme.

The ex-combatants from Maphisa, about 40km from Natisa area, have also 
grabbed Ebenezar Agricultural Training Centre, which is part of Maleme 

The centre, covering close to 600 hectares, offers a free one-year farming 
training programme to the youths, mainly orphans from the province.

Affected villagers and farm workers last week said war veterans, led by one 
Clever Dube, had grabbed the paddocks to “fix” them for protecting 
Canningham from eviction from the farm.

Under an agreement signed in 2000 between the villagers and Canningham, 
cattle from the community were to access the paddocks from August 1 to 
December every year, when there would be little or no grazing pastures in 

“We do not know what we are going to do. We have no grazing pastures for our 
cattle this time around, as the war veterans have taken over our paddocks,” 
said Gabriel Moyo, one of the villagers.

“Our cattle are dying in numbers because there are no pastures as a result 
of the drought. These war vets have brought cattle from other areas.”
A recent government report said there was need for urgent intervention to 
feed cattle in the drought-prone region of Matabeleland South province.

Standardcommunity last week heard that the ex-combatants had started renting 
out the paddocks.

There are currently close to 500 cows belonging to the war veterans and 
other farmers who are renting the paddocks.

Killion Sibanda, chairman of the Natisa area grazing scheme, said they had 
sought the assistance of Chief Masuku to drive out the war veterans.

“We are just praying and hoping that the Chief will intervene urgently to 
evict these war veterans before we lose all our cattle,” said Sibanda.

“These people are saying they are fixing us for protecting Canningham, whom 
we have lived with peacefully for years. He has done a lot for us.”

Sibanda said if no solution was found urgently, “We would be left with no 
option but to fight these war veterans. We are war veterans too. Cattle 
farming is our only source of livelihood and we cannot just watch while our 
source of livelihood is being wiped out.”

Farm manager, Phathani Sibanda, said the invaders claimed that they were 
allocated the farm in 2004 by government.

“We are in talks with them so that we can find an amicable solution,” he 
Dube and Canningham could not be reached for comment.

A farm worker, who refused to be named, said the war veterans also grabbed 
land that had been allocated to students to do small-scale farming on 
completion of their studies.

“It is unfortunate that they are destroying the future of these kids. This 
college has taught youths from this area and beyond, skills in agriculture,” 
he said.
The dispute comes a few weeks after another farmer in Kezi, Peter Cloete, 
was summoned by Chief Nyangazonke for allegedly refusing to cede part of his 
land to villagers to graze their livestock.


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