ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa yesterday said the invasion of his Nyamandlovu farm could be linked to the so-called Zanu PF Grand Plan that allegedly seeks to sideline people from Matabeleland region.
A document that was allegedly authored by Zanu PF in 1979 outlining how Matabeleland was marginalised has circulated for some time.
A revised version started circulating on social networks claiming the plan had been a success with most of the beneficiaries of the land reform exercise around Bulawayo being from outside the region.
Dabengwa said the invaders at his Ruby Farm were from outside the region. He told Southern Eye that he was being persecuted for opposing Zanu PF.
“According to article seven of the grand plan, they say they have reclaimed Matabeleland by having most of their people owning farms here,” Dabengwa said.
“The majority of the people at my farm are non-Ndebele speakers and it’s clearly part of the plan.”
A group of Zanu PF supporters reportedly led by Mark Makotami and Tariro Magovanyika have been identified as the leaders of the invasion of Dabengwa’s farm that started last Thursday.
The two also led the invasion of the Bulawayo City Council-owned Mazwi Game Reserve where they say they have resettled over 2 000 people.
However, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the party had no such plan and did not support the invasion of Dabengwa’s farm.
“As a matter of principle, we all agree in Zanu PF that land belongs to all Zimbabweans regardless of tribe, race or creed,” he said.
“This is the position of the party. We believe that everyone should have access to land regardless of who they are.”
He referred further questions to Lands minister Douglas
Mombeshora who was not reachable.
“Mombeshora is the best person to talk about land redistribution and the ongoing farm invasions,” Gumbo said.
“He wants people to be resettled in an orderly fashion. He wants discipline.”
Mombeshora in July said the government was ready to deal with lawlessness in the agricultural sector to improve productivity on farms.
Dabengwa dismissed the invaders’ claims that he was under-utilising his farm or that it was too big.
The former Home Affairs minister has 300 head of cattle and said the farm was only suitable for ranching.
“There is no underutilisation of the farm and besides they are not the right people to determine that,” he said.
Dabengwa said the invaders first arrived at the farm last Thursday and after he explained to them that he bought the property, they apologised saying they had made a mistake.
The invaders temporarily withdrew from the farm only to return on Monday where they continued cutting down hard wood trees (umkusu).
Dabengwa said his farm manager tried to engage the police who seemed reluctant to rein in the invaders.
“I spoke to the Zanu PF chairperson for Bulawayo (Calistus Ndlovu) who told me that he once went to their command centre at Mazwi and the people there ridiculed him after he told them to stop the invasions,” he said.
“He said he advised council to go to court to get an order to evict them and this is a route I should probably take.”
Dabengwa said he was being persecuted for being a member of Zapu.
He said the trees the invaders were chopping down took long to nurture and their activities would result in a serious damage to the environment.