New Zanu PF land-grab exposed

September 19, 2011 at 7:49 am Leave a comment

BY NQABA MATSHAZI
A host of Zanu PF officials have been named as having positioned themselves
to grab land under the Save Valley Conservancy in Masvingo, contrary to the

provisions of the land reform and the Indigenisation Act.
The officials were reportedly led by Masvingo governor, Titus Maluleke and
included Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Stan Mudenge, former
governor, Josiah Hungwe, Chiredzi South legislator, Aaron Baloyi and former
Member of Parliament, Enock Porusingazi.

Army boss, Engelbert Rugeje, a Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
official, Vitalis Chadenga and former legislator Shuvai Mahofa were fingered
by whistleblower website, WikiLeaks, as being part of the land grab.

The Zanu PF officials are reported to have imposed themselves as indigenous
partners of land owners in the Save Valley Conservancy (SVC).

Maluleke is reported to have told people owning land in the conservancy that
they should hand in their title deeds and instead, be issued with 25-year
leases, while at the same time ceding part of their land holdings to the new
partners.

The SVC raised concern that despite claiming that they wanted to be
indigenous partners, the Zanu PF officials would not be buying any
shareholding, but rather would be grabbing the land for free.

In one instance, George Hulme, a manager on one of the farms, was reportedly
summoned to a meeting and told that Maluleke and Lieutenant Colonel David
Moyo were the new partners and this was irreversible.

“In the meeting, the governor explained to Hulme that the inclusive
government had agreed that the land reform process would not be reversed and
said he was carrying out a policy that could not be reversed,” reads the
leaked cable.

“In all, 10 of the 22 properties have been allocated new partners through
this programme.” The property holders were reportedly looking for their own
partners, either with the community or the Parks and Wildlife Authority, but
in contravention of environmental and tourism laws, the politicians imposed
themselves.

This is not the first time the issue of the SVC invasion has been mentioned,
with the German embassy earlier this year raising concern that the area had
been invaded in violation of bilateral agreements between Zimbabwe and the
European nation.

The Zanu PF officials are reported to have come up with the “Masvingo
Initiative” which was spearheaded by Maluleke, with the intention of
grabbing land.

Youth Development, Empowerment and Indigenisation minister, Saviour
Kasukuwure is reported to have held a meeting in Masvingo, where he
threatened to drive all the animals on the conservancies into Gonarezhou
National Park and threatened to braai whatever remained behind, if the SVC
did not adhere to indigenisation laws.

“It should be noted that the concept of partnership as advocated by the
Masvingo Initiative does not seem to be based on normal business
considerations,” the German embassy said.

“The members of the initiative have made it quite clear that they want
partnership without paying for it.”
The named Zanu PF officials could not be reached for comment.

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