BELEAGURED Information minister Jonathan Moyo was this week dealt another body blow after the land task force took steps to repossess his Patterson Farm in Mazowe in a move se
en as retribution for his ongoing challenge to the party and its leadership.
Having failed to secure election to the ruling party’s 252-member central committee and subsequently barred from contesting the forthcoming legislative poll in his home constituency of Tsholotsho on a ruling party ticket, Moyo has now reportedly lost his Mazowe Farm, which he controversially purchased for $6 million in 2002.
The Zimbabwe Independent was yesterday told that officials from the taskforce, accompanied by Zimbabwe Republic Police deputy commissioner Godwin Matanga, visited the farm in Mazowe on Tuesday and advised the farm manager on plans to repossess it, stating that the owner was in breach of government’s one-man, one-farm policy.
Reports that war veterans then occupied the farm could not be confirmed. Nor could reports that the farm manager was forced to flee leaving farm equipment and agricultural produce at the mercy of the war veterans.
Matanga yesterday referred all questions to Lands minister John Nkomo. Nkomo also declined to comment on the seizure of the farm saying “those are matters referred to the governors”.
Mashonaland Central governor Ephraim Masawi asked the Independent to call him later saying he wanted to get details from his provincial administrator but had not done so at the time of going to print yesterday.
While Moyo’s acquisition of Patterson farm has been dogged by controversy, he has maintained that it is a family farm that he bought transparently. The source of discord is that the Lands ministry has said state land could not be sold or bought.
Official records show that Moyo bought Patterson Farm, described in Agriculture minister Joseph Made’s offer letter dated November 30 2001 as state land, for $6 million. Moyo used a Jewel Bank cheque drawn on the Westgate branch on July 22, 2002 as payment for the farm. The payment followed a letter written by Agriculture permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka on April 29 2002 to Moyo informing him of the cost of the land and the improvements.
The Independent heard that officials from the task force told the Patterson farm manager that Moyo had no lease agreement and the Administrative Court had not confirmed the property’s acquisition. As a result, the title deeds for the farm — which Moyo initially wanted to buy for a mere $1,8 million — are still with the farm’s legal owner, a company run by a trust.
The move by Nkomo’s ministry to repossess the farm follows unprecedented public tussles between Moyo and Nkomo over a controversial Tsholotsho meeting convened by the Information tsar on November 18, which President Mugabe described as “illegal”, to discuss leadership change. Moyo has, through the Chronicle and Herald newspapers, fired a barrage of criticism tat Nkomo accusing him of stifling development in Matabeleland and lying over his visit to Tsholotsho in the company of Dumiso Dabengwa last week.