Stiff challenge for Mujuru’s authority

Augustine Mukaro



VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru’s authority faces a stiff challenge as government ministers and Zanu PF cronies have refused to return equipment

they reportedly looted from Kondozi Estate in Manicaland.


Government sources said the ministers implicated in the seizure of Kondozi irrigation equipment and vehicles had ignored Mujuru’s call to return everything taken unlawfully from the former multi-billion dollar horticultural estate.


State Security, Lands and Land Resettlement minister Didymus Mutasa, Agriculture minister Joseph Made, Transport and Communications minister Chris Mushohwe, Energy and Power Development minister Mike Nyambuya, Water Development minister Munacho Mutezo and governor Tinaye Chigudu were all recently accused of taking various items of agricultural equipment from the farm.


The open defiance of Mujuru’s order could jeorpadise her initiative to rehabilitate the former horticultural concern in the same manner previous efforts to save Kondozi by Vice-President Joseph Msika failed.


Former Information minister Jonathan Moyo countermanded Msika’s protests that the estate be returned to its former owners, saying there was “no going back on Kondozi”.


Made shot down Mujuru’s initiative this week in parliament, saying the estate had been allocated to the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) and “there was no shift on this position”.


“The land (Kondozi Estate) remains under the control of Arda and there is no ambiguity on that,” Made said, responding to Mutare North MP Giles Mutsekwa during a question and answer session. Mutsekwa wanted Made to clarify the Kondozi issue.


Contacted for comment, Mutasa promised to phone back, which he had not done at the time of going to press.


The rebuff by the coterie of senior government officials comes at a time when Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele is understood to have asked the police to investigate the six ministers alleged to have looted farm equipment.


But the police will not act until President Robert Mugabe gives them the green light to do so, observers noted this week.


Gula-Ndebele is understood to have written to the officer commanding Manicaland province, Ronald Muderedzwa, last week instructing him to probe allegations that government officials used their influence to remove machinery worth billions of dollars left behind at Kondozi Estate after its former owners were forcibly evicted in 2004.


The AG is said to have indicated in his letter to Muderedzwa, that chances were high an exhaustive probe could unearth enough evidence to secure a conviction against the six senior members of Mugabe’s cabinet.


But sources said Muderedzwa said he would carry out a probe into the ministers only on direct orders of Mugabe or police commissioner Augustine Chihuri.