HomePoliticsLand grabbers criminals: Gono

Land grabbers criminals: Gono

Augustine Mukaro

RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono has demanded an immediate end to farm invasions, describing the perpetrators as criminals.

ans-serif”>Responding to questions on Wednesday during a tour of Bevking, a floriculture project at Kintyre Estate, Gono said new farm invasions were totally unacceptable and should be stopped.

“Those invading farms now are criminals,” Gono said asking: “Where were they when others were being allocated land? The invasions are totally unacceptable and should be stopped forthwith by whoever is doing it.”

Gono said the people who should feel insecure on farms at the moment are those who are not utilising the land as government was moving in to repossess it.

“Under-utilisation of the land knows no status,” he said. “It cuts across the board, but government will not hesitate to repossess land not being used productively.”

A fresh wave of land seizures hit the Chipinge and Nyazura districts of Manicaland last week when senior officers in the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), diplomats and the police are understood to have overrun at least four farms, beating and threatening farmers before chasing them off the land with the help of Zanu PF militia.

The Commercial Farmers Union strongly condemned the fresh wave of violence and appealed to the authorities to stop the campaign of assault and harassment of its members. It termed the harassment “a blatant flouting of human rights”.

Gono’s call contrasts sharply with State Security minister Didymus Mutasa’s remarks. Mutasa, who is also in charge of land redistribution, reportedly threatened that government would step up evictions of the remaining white farmers to ensure all farmland was in the hands of blacks by the start of this year’s rainy season around November.

A fortnight ago at a land audit meeting in Masvingo, Mutasa was reported as describing white commercial farmers as “dirt” which needed to be cleaned out.

Mutasa’s threats have been widely viewed as having triggered last week’s wave of violence on farms.

Since Mutasa’s statement, at least five farmers have been violently evicted from their properties in the Nyazura and Chipinge areas. CIO agents reportedly led a gang of Zanu PF thugs which stormed Ashanti Farm in Chipinge.

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