“It is disturbing that the allegations that I tried to or was part of a conspiracy to assassinate the president have now been reduced to allegations of witchcraft, whose versions change on a daily basis.

EQUIPMENT at Matabeleland’s biggest irrigation scheme in Binga, Bulawayo Kraal, has been looted from the site with reports that Zanu PF factional fights were at play since the project was spearheaded by the beleaguered former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Richard Muponde
Senior Reporter

The Bulawayo Kraal irrigation scheme is part of the Zambezi Green Valley project that was officially launched by Mujuru in 2006.

Last year, the Agriculture ministry through the Department of Irrigation had started the process of rehabilitating the irrigation scheme.

However, sources in Binga told Southern Eye that the project had stalled after most of the equipment was looted last year.

“There is nothing at the moment,” a source said.

“All the irrigation equipment you can think of was looted and taken out of the district.

“We suspect the move was to destroy everything that former VP Mujuru is associated with in Binga.”

The source said he suspected that factional politics was at play, as some forces in Zanu PF wanted to destroy anything that could be used to prop Mujuru’s image.

“This is the work of factional politics and unfortunately the people of Binga are the ones suffering,” the source said.

Binga Rural District Council chairperson Dube Mukombwe on Friday confirmed the development, saying the local authority was displeased with the looting.

“There is nothing to talk about,” he said.

“Everything has been taken away, leaving the people of Binga suffering.

“The problem is that the project was a political one, that’s why it was not easy to control what was happening there.

“You remember it was launched by former VP Mujuru.”

The scheme, which aimed at putting about 5 000 hectares of land under irrigation, sought to develop a green belt in areas along the Zambezi River, stretching from Kazungula to Kariba and had been hailed as a major step towards addressing the country’s perennial food shortages.

Mujuru was ousted from the government and Zanu PF positions accused of leading a cabal, which included several ministers, who allegedly wanted to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

The irrigation scheme was a shot in the arm for Binga people, who, perennially, experience starvation and at times are forced to survive on wild fruits.