- Zimbabwean war veterans and senior police official, Assistant Commissioner Loveness Ndanga, have finally started complying with High Court and Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri's orders to return illegally seized farm equipment worth trillions of Zimbabwe dollars, 'The Standard' has learnt. The equipment was looted as commercial farms were nationalised.
However, there are reports that some politicians of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party are determined to hold on to their loot, in a move that could prejudice commercial farmers of billions of Zimbabwe dollars (one million Zimbabwe dollar is set at about euro 8.40). Some of the equipment is on sale through the black market and police are yet to recover it.
Assistant Commissioner Ndanga, war veterans and senior politicians had defied high court orders to return farm equipment looted from remaining white commercial farmers, prompting High Court Commissioner Chihuri to intervene. The equipment looted included tractors, harrows, ploughs, harvesters, trailers, planters and irrigation machines.
When 'The Standard' visited Phoenix Hall, a police recreation centre in the city of Harare, last week, it saw piles of farm equipment that had been returned. It appeared more equipment was being ferried to the place. Some of the farming equipment came from as far as Rusape in eastern Zimbabwe, where politicians own farms.
A white commercial farmer from Mwenezi, who also preferred anonymity for fear of jeopardising the on-going process, confirmed to 'The Standard' that the equipment was now being returned.
"We have received reports that the processing of and returning the equipment in line with the High Court order has started and we are looking forward to repossessing our equipment," he said.
However, the move did not please provincial war veterans' leader, Isaiah Muzenda, 'The Standard' was told. The veterans of Zimbabwe's war against the apartheid regime on Rhodesia have been among the main profiteers of the farm nationalisations. Mr Muzenda allegedly called for a meeting last Sunday where he unsuccessfully tried to incite demonstrations against the return of the illegally seized property.
A war veteran who spoke to 'The Standard' said Mr Muzenda, who chaired the meeting, pleaded with his colleagues to stage demonstrations in the city. "Muzenda wanted us to demonstrate against the order to return the property but we refused ... We can't be seen fighting for the gains of individuals who do not think of us when they will be benefiting," said the war veteran, who declined to be named.
When contacted by 'The Standard', Mr Muzenda declined to comment. "I can not comment on that one now. Call after two to three weeks, may be I will be able to comment," he said.
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