By A Correspondent- Some notorious Mazowe war veterans, who invaded a farm belonging to the ex- Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere is reportedly feasting on the oranges which were grown by the fugitive ex-cabinet minister.
Last year, war veterans led by the Mazowe district war veteran chairperson Ephanos Mudzimunyi invaded Kasukuwere’s Concorpia Farm and helped themselves to his harvest, leading to the self-exiled former minister to seek recourse from the courts.
The farm was among those that had been targeted for repossession by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and yesterday, workers at the farm told NewsDaythat Mudzimunyi had taken control of the 130-hectare farm claiming that he had been allocated the piece of land by the late Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement minister Perrance Shiri.
Mudzimunyi is said to be staying in one of the farmhouses with his family, while production at the farm has been stagnant.
“He is still occupying the farm and says he is not going anywhere. There hasn’t been production here despite that we have a court order and even engaged the Sheriff of court, but nothing has moved,” one of the workers told NewsDay yesterday.
“We did not do anything the whole season and that is a big loss for the farm. Workers are there and they are being paid by Kasukuwere even without doing any work.
“He (the war veteran) is harvesting oranges from the farm and is selling them without the farm owners’ consent.”
Kasukuwere, who is based in South Africa, fled the country in 2017 following the November 2017 military coup that ousted the late former President Robert Mugabe in whose government he served.
He told NewsDay that Mudzimunyi’s actions showed that there was a need for institutions in the country to respect the law.
“The invaders should realise that times have changed and they will not be spared for the damages made on the farm, and we will charge them. Institutions should respect the law. The Sheriff’s office is in serious breach of law in spite of the fact that I have also paid for the removal of the illegal settlers,” Kasukuwere said.
Mudzimunyi was not available at the farm when NewsDay visited the farmhouse that he occupies in order to get a comment from him.
In May last year, Kasukuwere alleged that the illegal takeover of the farm scuttled a US$5 million investment deal with a Dubai-based tycoon.
This prompted him to file an urgent High Court chamber application challenging government’s decision to expropriate part of the farm.
The High Court ruled in his favour, but Mudzimunyi has allegedly continued to harvest export quality oranges on Lot 2, the best part of the vast estate running parallel to the perennial Mazowe River.
Observers have accused the ruling Zanu PF party of using farm invasions to silence its critics.