Mujuru accused of grabbing land from her neighbours

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FORMER vice-president Joice Mujuru has been accused of annexing 85 hectares of land from neighbours at her Alamein farm in Beatrice, depriving the owners of their tobacco barns, sheds and farm workers’ houses.

Wongai Zhangazha

Sources in Beatrice said this week Mujuru was in the process of fencing off land at Geluk farm which borders the property where her husband, retired General Solomon Mujuru died in a mysterious inferno in 2011.

Geluk farm is divided into four portions and has four owners.

A farm manager at one of the subdivisions said Ministry of Lands officials from Marondera in Mashonaland East visited the farm in April last year and told them they wanted to take part of the farm for security reasons.

“We were told by people from the Ministry of Lands that we were a security risk as we were neighbours with the then vice-president Joice Mujuru, so they were going to take part of the land and allocate it to the vice-president,” said a source.

“In return, we were told they would compensate us for the 85ha by allocating us land elsewhere around the area. However, we realised that the area they planned to allocate us belonged to Mujuru’s farm workers. The workers were allocated the land by General Mujuru.”

After visiting the area proposed to compensate for the grabbed 85ha, the evictees realised there were 75 families already occupying it.

“Upon inspection of the area we saw that farm workers of Alamein farm were staying there and taking the land from them was not practical as they had already dug boreholes while many others were building something, hence we went back to the Ministry of Lands in January to lodge a complaint,” said another source.

Mujuru is said to have started digging trenches around the area last week and is in the process of putting up a security fence.

“This basically means that they have bordered the 85ha so that we don’t have access to it. They have fenced in our tobacco barns that we built. We also built sheds, and two-roomed houses for our workers. As of today (Wednesday) the security fence is not yet fully up, so workers are in a hurry to harvest the tobacco that is left in that area.”

Contacted for comment Mujuru said: “I do not speak to anyone from the media, sorry.”

A follow-up message sent to mobile phone was not responded to.

Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora yesterday said he was not aware of the land wrangle.

“That issue has not been brought to me. Normally such an issue will be dealt with at provincial level, so get in touch with (Wilfred) Motsi, the chief lands officer in Marondera,” he said.

Motsi said he would need to talk to his colleagues at district level to get details of what was happening.

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