Secret land audit leaked

farm_picHARARE - Confidential Cabinet documents leaked to The Zimbabwean reveal the fierce resistance that top Zanu (PF) officials have shown to the land audit from as early as 2002. (Pictured: Seven years after a meeting condemning war veterans for being a law unto themselves in their acquisition of land, not a lot seems to have changed as Zanu (PF) heavyweights con

The documents contain details of multiple farm-ownership from as far back as six years. The details of which were first published in our Sunday edition. The documents also reveal the contemptuous boycott of all meetings convened on the land audit by ministers serving in President Mugabe’s exclusive government.

Details gleaned from confidential minutes of two land audit meetings held in 2002 and 2003, reveal the inherent revulsion among Zanu (PF) officials to any attempt to do a land audit.

The explosive December 9, 2002 land audit meeting was chaired by Msika, and attended by only three ministers in Mugabe’s entire “War Cabinet” then: Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, head of National Security Nicholas Goche and Flora Buka, minister of State for the Land Reform Programme. Fearing repercussions for looting farms, all absent ministers sent proxies to the land audit meetings. Out of eight governors, only four attended the meeting, where details of their multiple farm ownership were dished out to stunned security and intelligence bosses.

Among top intelligence officials at the meeting was Mernard Muzariri, the CIO boss, two other top spies O.E.M Hove and Z. Tahwa, Air Vice Marshal Henry Muchena and Deputy Police Commissioner Godwin Matanga.

During the follow-up meeting held in May 14, 2003, all the ministers excused themselves, saying they were out on official business. “In response to the concerns raised by honourable ministers at the absence of key line ministers, the chairman told the meeting that he believed that their absence was a deliberate ploy, but the meeting would go on regardless since senior officials from these key line ministries were present,” said the confidential minutes of the meeting.

The minutes also revealed a sinister plan hatched by the officials at that meeting to violate bilateral agreements protecting farms. “Farms affected by country-to-country agreements were to be submitted to the chairman for his consideration. Some of these agreements, it emerged, had not yet been ratified by Parliament anywhere,” read the minutes.

The confidential minutes reveal that spouses of Zanu (PF) chefs have been allocated Model A2 plots individually against policy. According to the government policy, where married couples are concerned, only one of them can benefit from the land reform programme.

Many beneficiaries that were allocated A1 plots had not surrendered their communal holdings. Many top Zanu (PF) chefs own land under both the A1 and A2 models simultaneously in violation of policy.

Very few female headed households or widows were allocated land under A1 or A2 models. Most top officials who were given large scale A2 plots have breached the maximum farm size regulations by grabbing vast tracts of land. Some farms that had been formally resettled under the model A1 had subsequently been re-planned to model A2 in such provinces as Mashonaland East resulting in the displacement of the A1 settlers.

The confidential minutes also noted that “some war veterans had become an authority unto themselves and were allocating land to themselves”.

Despite a resolution that this had to stop immediately, seven years on the result of that reluctance to nip the land grab in the bud is evident on farms that are lying fallow, are poorly managed and have yielded a fraction of their potential output.

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