BBC roasts Chinamasa

JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa was this week roasted by Stephen Sackur on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s Hard Talk programme where he struggled to defend Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe’s land seizures under the controversial land reform programme.

Report by Herbert Moyo

A visibly angry Chinamasa buckled under the barrage of questions on Zanu PF’s political repression, including the banning of independent radio stations, intimidation of judges and violent land seizures which have seen party officials, including Mugabe helping themselves to numerous farms.

“You should ask yourself why only these countries (Britain, USA and Canada) are criticising Zanu PF; why them alone?” protested Chinamasa.

“The answer is that they still want to regard us as their colony.”
Asked by Sackur how many farms Mugabe and his family owns, Chinamasa said: “To be honest I dont know.”

Mugabe’s family reportedly own more than 10 farms directly or indirectly, and only this January, First Lady Grace grabbed the 1 600 hectares of agro-producer Interfresh’s Mazowe Citrus Estate in Mashonaland Central.

Interfresh said Grace took a portion of its estate, which represents 46% of Mazowe Citrus Estate’s total arable land, 30% of its budgeted revenue for the 2013 financial year and 52% of the value of immovable and biological assets.

In addition, Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha promised the Mugabe family more land should they want to expand their family projects.

“We offered you land and we will continue to offer you land for other projects if you want it,” Dinha said at the official opening of the Amai Mugabe Junior School in Mazowe in February.

Questioned by Sackur about Mugabe’s continued leadership of Zanu PF and the country despite his old age and failing health, Chinamasa said the Mugabe issue was a problem for his party and country to solve.

Chinamasa said he has “no (guilty) conscience” after grabbing a farm in Headlands from Richard Yates who was forced to relocate to Australia.

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