The audit, proposed to ensure implementation of the government’s “one-man-one-farm” policy, was called for in the 2008 power-sharing agreement, and is one of the major targets set by Zimbabwe’s inclusive government during a ministerial retreat at Victoria Falls in August.
The GPA stated: “The parties hereby agree to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and nonpartisan land audit during the tenure of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe, for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownership.”
Scheduled to have started last month, the audit was ostensibly shelved after lands minister Herbert Murerwa said the government did not have the estimated US$31-million to conduct the process, expected to take nine months
Shortly after Murerwas statement, the European Commission offered to fund the audit, but insisted the process should be inclusive, transparent and comprehensive.
Xavier Marchal, the head of the commission in Zimbabwe, said the commission had expressed its availability to support “a meaningful” land audit.
“We need now to discuss its content. What the European Commission would like to support is a land audit that resolves the land issue,” Marchal said. “We are aware that government said they need US$30-million for the land audit. But we have not received any concrete request with concrete explanations of what is needed. We remain ready, of course, to discuss this at any time.”
The Commercial Farmers Union believes such an audit would reveal Mugabe’s multi-million dollar farm empire, as well as multiple ownership of farms by many in the Zanu (PF) hierarchy – Mugabe’s relatives, as well as generals, judges, ministers and members of parliament, have been beneficiaries.
According to the CFU, an independent audit would not only reveal multiple farm ownership, but would also show “how corrupt the identification, allocation and evictions have been”.
Since 2000, when Mugabe began encouraging the invasion of commercial farms, food production in Zimbabwe has withered, hunger has afflicted millions of people and the national economy has collapsed.
In fact, three land audits have been undertaken by the Zanu (PF) administration – but the findings have never been made public. Gorden Moyo, the MDC Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, has insisted that the government would try to raise the necessary finance to conduct the audit, even if it meant conducting it in phases. He said offers of funding had been made and it was envisaged that the audit would also involve local and international land experts. But the process appears stalled and nobody wants to talk about it any more.
He blamed the renewed farm disturbances on “residual elements” wanting to frustrate the GPA. “As the government, we are yet to establish the source of those problems, but what is clear is that some of them are political motivated, while others are driven by corruption and criminal tendencies,” Moyo said.
The outspoken chairman of Justice for Agriculture (JAG), John Worsley-Worswick, has repeatedly warned that Zanu (PF) would stand in the way of a transparent land audit and make every effort to control the process for its own benefit.
He said a well-funded, well-resourced and independent commission was the only way the land ‘reform’ programme would be exposed for causing “a national disaster.” The audit was not a ‘massive’ task, he said, as all the real, legitimate information was closely protected by farmers’ rights groups, including JAG itself and the CFU.
Confidential Cabinet documents leaked to The Zimbabwean last month revealed that resistance to any land audit has been ongoing since as long ago as 2002. The documents detail multiple farm-ownership and a contemptuous boycott of all meetings convened on the land audit by ministers.
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. 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.
Mugabe is understood to have seized three farms near his rural home from the Skea family Cressydale, John O’Groat, and Tankatara who were forced out between 2000 and 2002 and have emigrated to Australia and New Zealand. The owners of two other farms in the area Clifford and Cressydale 2 were forced out in 2006 and 2008.
According to staff, the five seized farms were initially run by the government’s Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA), which poured in millions of pounds of Zimbabwean taxpayers’ money. One long-serving worker recalled the frightening days when the farm invasions began in 2000.
“First the president bought Highfield. Hordes of people were brought into another farm in open trucks and gathered all the workers, and told them it now belongs to ARDA,” he said. “Those who didn’t want to work for ARDA were beaten up and told to leave the farm, and the invaders started staying in the houses.”
Workers said ARDA’s role was reduced in 2006 and a small group of “war veterans” occupying some of the land were also asked to leave to make way for Mugabe.
List of multiple owners
The following is a list of multiple farm owners compiled by human rights activists and made available to The Zimbabwean
NAME, NUMBER OF FARMS
Bvudzijena, Wayne (ZRP) 4
Chombo, Ignatius Morgan (mins) 11
Chinamasa, Patrick (Min of Justice) 3
Chinamasa, Monica (wife of Patrick) 2
Chinamasas sister 4
Chanetsa, Peter 10
Chanetsa, Mrs. (wife of Peter) 1
Chidondo, Brigadier ZNA 2
Chinamona, Mabel 2
Chinotimba, Joseph (aka Grass Hat) 2
Chitimira, Brian (CIO) 2
Chauke, Eliot (ex MP) 5
Chidiyausiku, Bonface (UN amb) 3
Chidiyausiku, Godfrey (Chief Justice) 2
Chigudu, Augustine (ex Perm Sec) 5
Chihuri, Augustine (Comm of Police) 5
Chingosho, Chris (P.A. Mash East) 9
Chiwewe, Willard ( ex Perm Sec) 6
Gata, Sydney (ZESA) brother in law to RGM 5
Gwasira, Sheppard (OIC Police Mash West) 5
Hungwe, Josiah (dec) 5
Kaukonde, Ray (ex Governor Mash East) 4
Kutamahufa, T. (ex Ass/DA Chipinge) 4
Madzongwe, Edna (ZPF Chair of Senate) 6 (and taking more!)
Mahofa, Shuvai 7
Mandaza Dr. Ibo 6
Mangota, David 5
Manyika, Elliot 3
Manyika (Miss) daughter of Elliot 2
Marufu, Reward (brother in law of RGM) 2
Masocha (ex ZNA, Prov ZPF Sec) 8
Matanga, Godwin (dep Commissioner Police) 5
Matonga, Bright (Ministry of Info) 3
Mawere, Mutumwa (FSI) 21
Mhandu, Cairo and wife Ruth 3
Mliswa, Temba and Nomhle 5
Mohadi, Kembo (joint Min. Of Home Affairs) 5
Mnangagwa, Emmerson Dambudzo 2 (taking more)
Moyo, Godfrey 3
Moyo, Jonathan (MOUTH piece for ZPF!) 7
Mpofu, Obert Moses (prev. Gov Matabeleland) 5
Mudenge, Stan 4
Mugabe, Grace 3
Mugabe, Leo (nephew of RGM) 4
Mugabe, Sabina (sister of RGM) 3
Mugwisi, Oveerson (Lt Col ZNA) 4
Mujuru, Solomon and Joyce 3
Mumbengegwi Dr. Simba 3
Mutasa, DAvid 4
Mutema, P (Gov. appointed Chief) 4
Muzonzini, Elisha (ex CIO) 2
Nemakonde, Wilson Chief 5
Ngwenya, Richard P 4
Nyakuoya, Enock (Mazoe rural council) 4
Nyambuya, Mike (ZNA retd General) 3
Paradza, Kindness (journalist and friend of M. Mawere) 3
Pasi, Gersham (ZIMRA) 6
Shiri, Perrence (Air Vice Marshall/Gukuruhundi) 6
Shumba, Christopher (ex DA Kariba and Chegutu) 4
Shumba, Isiah 10
Sigauke, Tulani (ZPF loyalist) 5
Taruvinga, Gibson (brother in law Simba Makoni) 4
Tembo, Gupa Webster (DA Makonde) 4
Veterai, Nyaradzo (Snr Ass Comm ZRP) 5
Yotamu, J. (friend of Ignatious Chombo) 3
Zhanda, Paddy 3
Zimondi, Paradzai (retd General, Head of Prisons) 3
Zvinavashe, Vitalis (deceased ZNA General) 3