Hundreds of land seekers duped by masquerading name dropping war veterans

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Writes Elvis Dumba

Banket – Prospective land seekers have been against being duped in their earnings by an unscrupulous group masquerading as war veterans specially assigned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to allocate land.

This was said by Mashonalnd West Provincial ZANU (PF) Veterans League Chairperson, Happison Muchechetere when he addressed hundreds of people who had gathered at a residential house in Banket being used as the group’s land office.

“I realised after I received calls from the ZANU PF headquarters and President’s office who had received information that there were land allocations in Mashonaland West which are not being known by the party or Ministry of Lands. After I made inquiries, I was told about this issue,” Muchechetere said.

“I want to advise that you are being duped by these people as they are using and tarnishing the name of our President through name-dropping to steal from you,” he said.

Muchechetere said only the Ministry of Lands allocates land through District and Provincial Land Committees and said people risk losing their hard-earned money through the masquerading, unscrupulous war veterans.

He was whisked to safety after one of the gang leaders, Mpofu incited the crowd to attack his vehicle.

“I’m the owner of this office and you (Muchechetere) should have phoned me before coming here. Please don’t listen to him as there are people who don’t want you to have land! ” one of the group leaders only identified as Mpofu shouted.

Investigations revealed that the group has been going around Mashonaland West Province illegally settling people on various farms and demanding money ranging from US$30 up to $500 from desperate land seekers.

One of the group members, Tafadzwa Banda, claimed they were a special task force appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa whom he said they report to at his farm every Sunday.

Mashonalnd West Provincial Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, has also dismissed the group’s claims.

“They are criminals using President Mnangagwa’s name ” she said.

Investigations also revealed the group has been arrested numerous times but their dockets are just gathering dust.

Government officials, security details and others with top-of-the-range vehicles were both jostling to be registered at the “office” for land.

A land seeker who was in police uniform said he travelled from Insiza and has been on the group’s waiting list for the past three years after paying US$350.