The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) has fired salvos at government officials and family members, who grab farms and dispossess widows and children of fallen heroes.

ZNLWVA said it would vigorously protect heroes’ widows and can “kill to defend what is rightfully ours”.

This, the association noted, follows a worrisome trend whereby officials from the Lands ministry connive with unscrupulous individuals to push fallen heroes’ widows and their children off farms following the deaths of heroes.

ZNLWVA Mashonaland West chapter secretary-general Mudzingaidzwa Nyikadzino Mudarikwa said ex-combatants will fight tooth-and-nail to defend surviving spouses’ entitlement to land and anyone who harbours sinister motives would bear the brunt of the former guerrilla fighters.

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“We get mad when we are denied what is rightfully ours. We claim what is ours. Our solemn liberation struggle pledge was to claim our land from colonialists and, therefore, to attempt to dispossess widows and children of departed liberation war heroes would be an affront to our cause.

“Anyone who tries this automatically becomes our enemy. We were trained to confront and kill the enemy,” Mudarikwa said while addressing mourners at the burial of State spy agent Martin Nyashanu in Chinhoyi on Wednesday.

Nyashanu, who was a senior Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative, collapsed and died on Easter Monday and was conferred provincial hero.

Mudarikwa reiterated that the Lands ministry should expedite ownership transfer of farms to widows to avoid condemning them and their off-spring to destitution.

He cited a case in which Woodlands Farm, Tengwe in Hurungwe district, measuring 100 hectares, was snatched from a war veteran’s widow and sold off to an Indian businessman.

The widow is challenging the illegal take-over of the land at the courts.

Mudarikwa challenged bereaved families to productively utilise allocated farms and guard the gains of the liberation struggle that brought the country’s independence.

Mashonaland East ZNLWVA chairman Daniel Sigauke echoed the same sentiments, urging war veterans, ex-detainees and war collaborators to remain united in defence of the country’s sovereignty.

Recently, the widow of national hero Vitalis Zvinavashe lost a huge chunk of her fertile Knockmallock Farm in Norton to a Chinese company, Sunny Yi Feng Tiles (Zimbabwe) (Pvt) Ltd, after it was given the land to set up a ceramic tiles factory under controversial circumstances.