Three politburo members clash in Midlands over land reform

THREE Zanu PF politburo members have clashed over the manner in which the land reform exercise is being managed in the Midlands with one member saying the harassment of white commercial farmers was affecting production.

The clashes involving politburo members Rugare Gumbo,

Didymus Mutasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa, occurred last month while President Mugabe was visiting Malawi.

According to sources in the ruling party, Gumbo is last month said to have approached Vice-President Joice Mujuru and told her that white commercial farmers in the Midlands province were being harassed by Mnangagwa who is also a senior politburo member in the province. Mujuru instructed National Security and Lands minister Mutasa to look into the issue, a source said.

The Zimbabwe Independent understands that Mutasa summoned all politburo members in the province who include Gumbo, Tsitsi Muzenda, Richard Hove and Mnangagwa to the Zanu PF headquarters where a meeting was held with the white commercial farmers present.

At the heated meeting, Mutasa allegedly accused Gumbo of not following protocol by reporting the matter to Mujuru and side-stepping him as the minister responsible. He pointed out that he was senior to Gumbo in the politburo.

The source said Gumbo told the meeting the continued harassment of white commercial farmers was disturbing the implementation of his ministerial programme under the National Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP).

When Mutasa was contacted he confirmed that a meeting on the issue was held.

“Inyaya yakaitika pasichigare (This is an ancient story). I don’t think it’s something worth talking about now. I am going into a meeting, can you talk to Gumbo,” said Mutasa.

Mnangagwa confirmed that he attended a meeting where A1 farmers were complaining that white commercial farmers in Midlands should be left alone as they are helping with farming ideas and equipment.

“I went to the meeting to listen to input from A1 farmers who were saying that white commercial farmers should not be chased away from the Midlands province because vanovabatsira kurima (they help them with farming skills).

“I think it’s better you also talk to Mutasa about this issue,” said Mnangagwa.

However, sources in the Midlands provincial leadership say Gumbo is doing all he can to undermine Mnangagwa who is a fierce competitor to Mujuru in the succession debate.

Gumbo said he didn’t say farmers were being harassed but that they should be given a chance to produce.

“I did not say that farmers were being harassed but I said farmers should be given a chance to produce and it is known that whether you are a white, black or yellow farmer, we should work together to see products of the programme (NEDPP),” he said. — Staff Writer.