Chiwewe violates one-man-one-farm decree

MASVINGO - In apparent violation of the "one man one farm" decree by President Robert Mugabe, the latest farm seized by Masvingo provincial governor and resident minister, Willard Chiwewe, for his daughter is the fourth property he has grabbed within two years, investigations have revealed.

Chiwewe is one of several high-ranking Zanu (PF) members who have stubbornly clung to their properties in open defiance of Mugabe’s directive.

Chiwewe intensified his land grab when he was moved from his position as Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, to become governor. Of his five farms, he bought only one in 1993.

In October, Chiwewe sent Zimbabwean police to arrest farmer John Alford for refusing to vacate his farm, Senuko, in Chiredzi. Alford had successfully challenged Senuko’s seizure in court and refused to leave the 40 hectare property.

Upon receiving news of his impending arrest, he went into hiding. The farm was later seized by gun-toting soldiers on behalf of the resident minister’s daughter.

Just two months after the seizure, the farm’s water supply has been exhausted, undermining the property’s future and that of neighbouring farms. Senuko used to produce 1,500 litres of fine milk, used in making yoghurt and lacto milk but is already struggling to produce 500 litres.

“Having taken and destroyed my farm, the resident minister was obviously just looking for a new property to wreck,” Alford said this week, commenting on Chiwewe’s seizure of Senuko, 470 km south east of Harare.

Chiwewe still defends his latest acquisition and said: “We gave the Alfords enough time to leave but they did not listen, hence we had to behave in the manner that we did. It is my daughter’s farm and she has since taken over after the land allocation committee gave her the property.”

But Chiwewe’s latest acquisition clearly contradicted a ruling by Mugabe that senior officials family in the ruling Zanu (PF) party must conform to his land reform “one man, one farm” policy.

Investigations have revealed that Chiwewe’s name is included in the “Dongo List”, a roll given by the Ministry of Lands in answer to a Parliamentary question by then Harare South MP Margaret Dongo, one of three opposition MP’s in the pre-June 2000 Parliament.

Described as a civil servant, the list shows a Mr Willard A Chiwewe as having a five-year lease over the 714 hectare Lot 1. The lease on this farm commenced on October 1, 1993.

Chiwewe also owns a farm in Shamva he violently grabbed from white commercial farmer Peter Rorbye, with the assistance of Zanu (PF) political commissar Elliot Manyika. The Zimbabwean can also reveal that Chiwewe also owns Chipoli Day Farm.

Despite his numerous farms, production at all of Chiwewe’s farms is lacklustre and none of the farms is in the 10-ton club, a prestigious grouping of farmers who can produce a 10 ton harvest per hectare of land.

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