‘Broke’ Zanu PF begs white farmers

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A BROKE Zanu PF has extended a begging bowl to white commercial farmers in Manicaland who survived the chaotic land reform, ahead of watershed elections expected this year.

REPORT BY BLESSED MHLANGA/OBEY MANAYITI

Governor Christopher Mushowe is reported to have held a meeting with white commercial farmers at the Golden Peacock Hotel last Thursday on behalf of his party where he reportedly asked them to help fund its election campaign, failure to which they would lose their farms. A source who attended the meeting said Mushowe told the farmers that they still held their land courtesy of his party and could risk losing their farms if they did not fund the Zanu PF election campaign.

“He told us that we needed the support of Zanu PF to keep our land and if we fail to co-operate with funding the election campaign, we could be considered enemies to the party and could lose the farms we were allowed to keep when other farmers were hounded out,” the source, who declined to be named, said.

Attempts to get a comment from Mushowe were fruitless with his mobile number going unanswered since Tuesday.

Bishop Trevor Manhanga, who according to the source was one of the people who attended the meeting to give prayers, confirmed Mushowe met the farmers from Chipinge and Nyanga. Manhanga, viewed by many as a Zanu PF sympathiser, downplayed the purpose of the meeting saying it was meant to raise funds for reburial of fallen heroes who died during the liberation war and are buried in mass graves in Rusape.

“Yes, I was at the meeting, but it had nothing to do with raising funds for the elections, but to raise funds for the reburial exercise of people who were buried in a mass grave in Rusape. This was my understanding of the meeting,” he said.

Manhanga said apart from the farmers, other top business persons from Mutare also attended the Mushowe meeting.

“Besides the commercial farmers there were representatives from different hotels, those from different funeral parlours, from Museums and the Home Affairs Department,” he said.

In the 2002 presidential elections Zanu PF toasted MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai when he appeared on a video receiving cash donations from white commercial farmers.