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Kondozi sucks in Mujuru

Augustine Mukaro

THE contentious Kondozi saga has roped in Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who has ordered the return of the horticultural estate to its original owner

s, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

Government sources said following Mujuru’s tour of Kondozi Estate last month, which exposed gross underutilisation of the once highly productive farm and high-level looting, she initiated the process of returning the farm to its former owners.

Mujuru is understood to have been incensed by the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) and the army’s failure to utilise the property.

Government deployed the army under the command agriculture programme dubbed Operation Maguta to till the land. Out of the 224 hectares of prime land, the army has planted a mere 40 hectares.

“A government delegation met former owners and majority shareholder, Edwin Moyo, two weeks ago,” sources said. “Moyo demanded a written undertaking that there wouldn’t be any interference with the operations if they returned to the farm. He also needed a guarantee that looted equipment would be returned.”

Sources said the agreement between government and the former owner was expected to be signed within two weeks.

Moyo would neither confirm nor deny the development but referred all questions to Lands and Land Resettlement minister Didymus Mutasa. Mutasa’s mobile phone went unanswered.

Moyo, Adrian Zeederburg and the De Klerk family, jointly owned Canvest Farming, a former Export Processing Zone agro-firm that in turn owned Kondozi and had secured markets for flowers and horticultural produce in the United Kingdom, Canada and Switzerland. Moyo had a majority 52% shareholding in the venture.

Kondozi made news in December 2003 when ministers Joseph Made and Christopher Mushowe reportedly invaded the farm on Christmas eve. The farm was subsequently taken over in the name of Arda in April 2004, a move which was strong opposed by Vce-President Joseph Msika and other Zanu PF politicians.

Then Information Jonathan Moyo scoffed at Msika’s protestations, saying there was “no going back on Kondozi”. — Staff Writer.

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