TWO senior government officials, who were only last month deployed to Kezi in Matabeleland South, have invaded Maleme Ranch, evicting the resident farmer, a college of agriculture and a popular camping site.
The two (names supplied) have taken over the farm which houses Ebenezer College and Shalom Campsite, with another official saying they were given the farm in appreciation of the work they had done ahead of Zanu PF’s congress last month.
According to the ranch owner, David Cunningham, one of the government officials, a State security official, gave them a letter indicating that the farm had been parcelled out to him.
Another senior government official, a district administrator, also produced an offer letter as well. The ranch was reduced by two thirds during the land acquisition in 2000.
“My son told me that a government official showed him a letter saying that the minister of Lands had given them Maleme Farm,” he said.
Another government official also came and hinted that she had been given an offer letter as well.
“The ranch was reduced to a third after the land programme in 2000s and the remaining third I still use for ranching and growing vegetables.”
Cunningham then narrated the projects on his land including chicken rearing, horticulture and a project called Turning Matabeleland Green.
The secretary to Chief Malaki Masuku, Killion Masuku, said a team had been dispatched to meet Provincial Affairs minister Abedinico Ncube to raise their concerns over the reallocation of the farm.
“We went to Gwanda with a team of eight headed by Chief Masuku to air our concerns,” he said.
“We met Provincial Affairs minister Abedinico Ncube and he told the chief that an old person like you (referring to the chief) is not supposed to support the whites.
“Chief Masuku answered saying he did not support anybody, but he supports what people survive on.”
Contacted for comment, Chief Masuku defended the beleaguered farmer, saying he had worked well with locals.