ZANU PF supporters have invaded a cattle ranch owned by a top Zipra ex-combatant, John Gazi, on the outskirts of Bulawayo, claiming the property is too large for him.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Zanu PF supporters began allocating each other portions of the 1 000-hectare Honey Bird Kop Farm, about 40km along the Bulawayo-Plumtree road, on Tuesday and continued with the exercise yesterday.
A Mangena, who was leading the pegging exercise, said Gazi was lucky to have been left with the farmhouse and a portion of the farm.
“You are lucky Gazi, others have been left with nothing. At least, you should be grateful for the farmhouse and the other portion of the farm that we have left you with. We are going ahead, pegging the farm for distribution to other land seekers,” he said.
On being confronted by Gazi, Mangena, who was driving a South African-registered Nissan Hardbody twin cab, said: “This is a lawful exercise, as this farm has since been acquired by the State.”
The invasion follows reports government had re-assigned or suspended some provincial lands officers for alleged corruption.
Reports said the lands officers were targeting some farms for redistribution to their friends and close associates.
It could not be ascertained how many Zanu PF supporters would be settled at the farm and also as to how much of the farm would be taken.
The land invaders destroyed a fence surrounding the farm to gain entry after they found the gates locked.
The matter was reported to the police.
Mangena, however, promised to have the fence fixed, but was quick to warn Gazi to leave the gates open to the invaders to avoid further vandalisation of the fence.
Gazi, yesterday, vowed to resist the invasion of his farm in the courts.
He has also written to War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa to assist a “fellow colleague and block this invasion”.
“I am not going anywhere and they will fail in their attempts to evict me. They once tried to grab my farm in 2006 and they failed. I will employ all possible means to block this attempt to grab my property,” Gazi, who was once charged with treason in 2011, said.
He was accused together with exiled Paul Siwela and Charles Thomas as members of Mthwakazi Liberation Front for conspiring to incite Zimbabweans, or a section of them, into rising against the government through distributing flyers with inflammatory messages.
A number of former Zipra members, including Zapu president, Dumiso Dabengwa, have had their farms invaded after they fell out with Zanu PF.