VICE-PRESIDENT Joseph Msika has described as “immoral little boys” government and Zanu PF officials advocating the violent seizure of productive horticultural farms across the country.
Msika, who is the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Land Reform, denied allegations that he was losing out to ambitious ministers on the land issue.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Msika said he decided to drop the contentious issue of Kondozi Farm in Odzi after consulting with President Mugabe.
He said there were reasons, which he wouldn’t disclose, that had made him abandon the Kondozi issue.
He said he was still on top of the situation in government and Zanu PF on the land issue and other policy matters.
“I haven’t lost to anyone,” said Msika. “How could I lose to those immoral little boys?” he asked, referring to government officials who supported the use of the army and police to evict the owner of Kondozi Farm and his workers last month to pave way for the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda).
Information minister Jonathan Moyo openly backed the seizure of Kondozi and declared there was no going back. Agriculture minister Joseph Made and Transport minister Chris Mushowe also backed the use of the police and army to evict Kondozi owners and farm workers.
“I don’t want to comment on Jonathan Moyo’s actions. I can’t waste time on that,” Msika said. “There are other reasons why I chose to keep quiet over Kondozi but I won’t disclose them. This is how those little boys found some stone to stand on,” he said.
“But it was after meeting with the president and agreeing on matters of principle. He (Mugabe) shares the same position with me regarding the land issue. I am still in control and effectively still represent my position. Arda has a farm next to Kondozi and there was no reason at all to forcibly take over this one.”
The tough-talking Msika said he would fight anyone who dares set foot on productive horticultural concerns, saying these were vital to the nation’s livelihood.
“My position, which is not personal but based on policy, is that we should not disturb sugarcane estates, citrus estates and other horticultural concerns in the Lowveld and Highlands,” he said.
“These are large industries earning the country a lot of foreign currency. But they should not remain exclusive to a few individuals or whites only.
More people must be included in the ownership of the concerns but not through violent and barbaric ways,” Msika said.
“Personally as the chairman of the land taskforce I wouldn’t accept having the army and police descending on farms to forcibly evict owners, farm workers or peasants. Such actions cast a bad image on the land issue that has been a success generally.”