A peak into Gideon Gono's lavish poultry farm

The Governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, is a man of many means.

Gideon Gono
Gideon Gono

A recent incognito visit by this reporter to one of his commercial farming ventures revealed that President Robert Mugabe's personal banker has a lot of money to splash around.

Workers refused to confirm that Gono actually owns the farm, but it is common knowledge among travellers using the Juru Growth Point Highway to Nyamapanda at the border with Mozambique.

Gono left his position as Chief Executive of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, which he had single-handedly turned into CBZ Financial Holdings Limited - a journey famously known as his "from tea-boy to RBZ Governor" story.

Gono is the current RBZ Governor and a major shareholder in CBZ - a government-controlled cash-cow.

Situated along the Juru Growth Point Highway about 20km outside the capital, Harare, lies Gono's expansive poultry commercial project - Meatlands (Private) Limited.

He is constructing more than 10 state-of-the-art facilities to house the day-old chicks, at as cost of about $20,000 each.

At night the facility looks more like a gym with blazing blue fluorescent lights. The surrounding farming areas are in total darkness due to load shedding by the cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

"We have a generator which works all the time," said a worker, unaware that he was speaking to a journalist.

"GG does not run out of electricity like these other poor farmers surrounding him here.”

But Gono is not surrounded by "poor farmers" as alleged by the misinformed worker, clad in a new navy blue overall.

He is surrounded by several top "Zezuru farmers" and lucrative tracts of land belonging to SeedCo Limited's Maize Breeding Farm, Pioneer Seed Farm (seed breeding), the Pannar Research Facility Farm, Nhaka Valley Estates, Melrose Farm trading as Hunda Farming Ventures (Private) Limited, and Pagejo Rarubi Farm.

These farms are said be owned by Zanu (PF) bigwigs from the region including top pig producer Paddy Zhanda, Governor Ray Kaukonde, as well as fugitive businessman now based in London, James Makamba.

Meatlands has a Toll Gate opposite its entrance, separating Harare from Juru Growth Point. It is very heavily guarded by ZIMRA, the ZRP and the ZNA, who are armed.

A white wrought iron fence is currently being erected and a there is an electric fence around the poultry farm.

About two years ago Gono took Mugabe on a tour of his Norton Farm, where he revealed that he was putting up six grain silos at a cost of $30 000 each.

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