Fisticuffs over farm

Senior Zanu (PF) officials were involved in fisticuffs in Masvingo at the weekend over the take-over of a farm owned by a white man. Witnesses told The Zimbabwean that Eddison Zvobgo (Jnr) pummelled the Zanu (PF) provincial information and publicity secretary Kudzai Mbudzi duri

ng a fracas caused by repeated attempts to evict the farmer, identified as Sparrow, by Mbudzi, a war veteran, and his colleagues identified only as Mudavanhu and Muzenda.
The war veterans are said to have obtained the backing of Lands minister Didymus Mutasa in grabbing the farm but Vice President Joseph Msika, who was in Masvingo at the weekend, intervened in the matter and ordered that the farmer must not be evicted.
“The matter has divided the Masvingo Zanu (PF) provincial leadership. Zvobgo was very angry and hit Mbudzi in the full glare of other senior leaders. Msika said the farmer must not be evicted,” said an eye-witness.
Efforts to obtain comment from Zvobgo and Mbudzi failed, but an official from Mutasa’s office in Harare said Sparrow’s farm had not been listed for acquisition.
Mutasa has continued to implement the farm grab by listing the few remaining commercial farms for acquisition and allocating them to Zanu (PF) officials and supporters. This is despite various claims and promises by the regime that it is now committed to stopping its destructive approach to the land issue.
Msika announced this week that government would not chase away remaining white farmers, whom he described as a key stakeholder in the country’s development.
“We are not going to remove all the remaining white farmers, especially those operating conservancies,” said Msika. “We have discovered that government alone cannot develop the country without the help of the corporate world and the remaining white farmers are a key stakeholder in the development of the country.”
Msika’s statement contradicted Mutasa, who maintains his position that farmers issued with eviction orders must vacate their properties by 31 December 2007.
“I do not know in which context the vice president said these words but the government position is that those who have already received eviction notices should comply with the order,” said Mutasa. – Staff reporter/ZimOnline

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