VILLAGERS at Lochard Farm in Matabeleland South are praying hard, hoping First Lady Grace Mugabe recuperates quickly and returns home, as they believe she is the only one who can rescue them from corrupt Zanu PF leaders in their area.
The villagers said they have had enough of the corrupt leaders and this has been exacerbated by the Zanu PF hierarchy’s failure to attend a meeting were the locals were due to speak out about their grievances.
The Zanu PF leaders include ward chairman Clifford Mashona, councillor Edith Gumbo, district chairman Nkosiyabo Dladla, village head Liveson Moyo, Paulos Ndlovu, Dan Mathe and Colbert Thebe.
A Southern Eye news crew was caught up in the storm as the leaders accused this reporter of fomenting the trouble, threatening to sue her if this story was ever published.
Villagers of Makaribheni accused the Zanu PF leadership of illegally distributing land and being involved in a fertiliser scam.
A villager, who spoke on condition of anonymity in fear of victimisation, said the leaders absconded the meeting because they were afraid that a vote of no confidence would be passed on them.
“We called our leaders so that they can come clean and we tell them the truth, because we did not want to end up in such a scenario where they will say we are gossiping,” he said.
“It is not like we want to tarnish the image of the party, but we want to expose those people we call leaders who are actually tarnishing the image of the party. We are really troubled as villagers because they have taken this land as if it is their own.”
Another villager said they wanted Grace to come and intervene, as they described their leadership as full of corruption.
“She should come and sweep this dirt, because we are really tired about what is happening at Lochard,” the villager said.
“We wanted to finish their corruption because they are even selling the fertiliser which is supposed to be given for free. If this issue is not addressed, we will take matters into our hands.”
Ward chairperson Mashona denied the allegations and refuted claims that he had absconded the meeting, saying he was not aware of it.
“I am the only one who has authority to call for a meeting as the ward chairperson, so I cannot attend a meeting which I have not called,” he said.
“All they are saying are totally lies. What I know is we gave 213 children stands through Zanu PF.”
The local councillor Gumbo said she was surprised to be accused of selling fertiliser, as she gave the inputs to village heads in the presence of Grain Marketing Board officials, Agritex officials and the police.
Moyo, the village head, said not enough fertiliser had been sent to the area and the resultant shortfalls were not because of corruption.
“The issue is that the inputs are in short supply and recently, when the villagers were asked to share the fertiliser, some people rejected it, saying I should take the inputs back to the President until they were enough, like in Matabeleland North,” he said.