CONTRARY to claims by Transport and Communications minister Christopher Mushohwe that Kondozi farm owners wanted to bribe him, it emerged this week that the minister wrote to the De Klerk fa
mily asking for assistance.
Mushohwe has given the De Klerks up to April 7 to wind up their operations and vacate Kondozi farm to make way for the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda).
At a function in Odzi over the weekend, Mushohwe alleged the De Klerks tried to bribe him with $10 million to donate to schools in Mutare.
He said the De Klerks allegedly used Edwin Moyo as their front. Mushohwe claims to have turned down the poisoned chalice.
A letter in the possession of this paper dated March 19, 2003, written on a Ministry of Transport letterhead and signed by Mushohwe when he was still deputy minister, reveals that he did ask for a donation.
In the letter, addressed to Piet De Klerk, Mushohwe said he wanted to raise funds to build ‘A’ level blocks, a library and teachers accommodation at Odzi Secondary School.
“Odzi Secondary School has been granted ‘A’ level status and ‘A’ level studies have just started,” reads part of Mushohwe’s letter.
“The school requires assistance to enable it to build ‘A’ level blocks, library and teachers accommodation. It is in this view that I, as local MP for the area is (sic) extending this invitation to you,” he said.
“I value and appreciate the many contributions and assistance you have rendered towards the development of our constituency. Your presence and indeed assistance in cash and or kind would be greatly appreciated,” the letter said.
Kondozi farm became the centre of controversy when Agriculture minister Joseph Made, Mushohwe and a Joseph Matovanyika, along with Arda employees, invaded the 224-hectare horticultural farm on Christmas eve last year.
The farm is registered as an Export Processing Zone farm and has a turnover of US$15 million. It employs around 5 000 workers.
In an interview on Monday, Kondozi project majority shareholder Edwin Moyo said Mushohwe had not been consistent in his dealing with issues of the farm.
“The minister should just tell the truth about his intensions on Kondozi,” Moyo said. “If he wants the farm he should say so without smearing my name as a front.”
Moyo said Mushohwe had been trying all tricks to drive out the current shareholders on Kondozi against a High Court order allowing them to stay on.
“As we speak, Mushohwe has hired terror gangs who are wrecking havoc on the farm.
“At a rally in Odzi last weekend, Mu-showe threatened to eliminate Kondozi workers committee members who are resisting his plans to take over the farm under the guise of Arda,” Moyo said.
Workers on Kondozi farm recently tried to enlist the help of Chief Marange in the area to keep Mushohwe out the property.