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Mutasa, Zanu PF clash

Augustine Mukaro

THE Zanu PF leadership is up in arms against Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement minister Didymus Mutasa for continuing farm disruptions and new offer l


In a development which has brought to the fore policy contradictions in government and the ruling party, political leaders in Mashonaland have asked Vice-President Joseph Msika to intervene.

The leaders, through senior politburo member and party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira, have written to Msika to convey to the presidency their recommendations to nullify Mutasa’s recent land offer letters and illegal farm invasions spearheaded by top army officials, the police and senior civil servants.

In a letter to Msika, dated October 19 and delivered on October 25, Shamuyarira said the Mashonaland West political leadership, in consultation with traditional leaders and land committees, had recommended that the remaining white farmers be allowed to continue farming on the small pieces of land still in their possession. This is in sharp contrast to Mutasa’s position that white farmers should be kicked off the land. A number of farmers on the list are facing litigation after they failed to vacate the land as required by the law.

Last month the Zimbabwe Independent reported that the Minister of State for Special Affairs Responsible for Land and Resettlement Programme Flora Bhuka tabled before the politburo a report proposing a further expropriation of white commercial farms because “there were still too many white farmers on the land”.

The report was rejected as “retrogressive”.

Party sources this week said the letter from Mashonaland West had eroded Mutasa’s political standing which has been premised on his firm grip on land distribution. The sources said it was also useful to note that the letter was sent straight to Msika and not even copied to Mutasa and Bhuka who are directly in charge of land reform.

The party leadership said white farmers should be allowed to continue producing on the smaller pieces of land because they worked with the local people. The letter followed an earlier meeting with Msika at Cooksey Hall during which the VP rebuked the leaders for failing to deal with land-related problems in the province.

“In line with the policy provisions which were outlined in the meeting we wish to assist the governor’s office in the implementation of the resolutions, which were made at the (meeting with Msika),” Shamuyarira said.

The resolutions include giving of Rydings School in Karoi back to the community and property, including $800 million, which was misappropriated when the school was taken over by Mutasa’s lawyer, Gerald Mlotshwa.

Mlotshwa claimed ownership of Rydings School on the basis of an offer letter that allocated him Enthorpe Farm on which the school is built.

He proceeded to appoint businessman Themba Mliswa — Mutasa’s nephew — as chairman of the school’s board of governors. The trustees of the school contested the takeover and wrote a petition to President Robert Mugabe while challenging the acquisition in court. The court has barred Mlotshwa and Mliswa from interfering with the administration, assets and programmes at the school.

The leadership also recommended “the removal of those members of the Zimbabwe National Army, the police, and senior civil servants who illegally occupied farms in Mashonaland West province”.

The politicians recommended “the nullification of the offer letters issued to Noma Mliswa for Summerhill Farm, Rotina Mavhunga (the diesel n’anga) for Baguta Extension, Brigadier General Dube for Grande Parade and Brigadier Mtisi for Folliot farm and their eviction from the said farms”. The leadership recommended the removal of Themba Mliswa from Spring Fever farm in Karoi because of “continued confusion he has caused and indiscipline”.

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