SCORES of militant Zanu PF supporters have invaded Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa’s Rudy Farm in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North, claiming he is under-utilising the property.
NQOBANI NDLOVU/BENSON DUBE
The Zanu PF supporters from various high-density suburbs of Bulawayo, claiming to have the blessings of the party’s top brass, yesterday vowed to stay put on Dabengwa’s farm, saying it was too big for him.
The ruling party activists told out sister publication, Southern Eye, that the invasion was part of Zanu PF’s ongoing land reform programme.
Dabengwa, former Zipra military commander, confirmed the invasion of his farm yesterday.
“I have been told by my employees that the farm has been invaded. I don’t know the motive behind all this,” Dabengwa said.
“I am travelling to the farm this evening to find out more about this. I cannot say much now because I don’t have details.”
According to the land grabbers, Dabengwa and other black farmers in Matabeleland were to blame for the collapse of Bulawayo’s industries.
The Zanu PF supporters said farm owners in Matabeleland were underperforming, resulting in farmers from Mashonaland selling their produce in the region.
“We are not going anywhere as you can see. I failed to get any land in 2000 and this is my time,” one of the invaders, Witness Mathuthu, who claimed to be from Cowdray Park, said.
Southern Eye was informed that Zanu PF officials, who led the invasion of the Bulawayo City Council-owned Mazwi Nature Reserve close to St Peter’s on the outskirts of the city, last month, were the brains behind the seizure of Dabengwa’s farm.
A command centre has been reportedly set up at Mazwi Nature Reserve where any individual seeking land can approach Zanu PF officials to be allocated a piece of land at the sanctuary, Dabengwa’s farm and others targeted for invasions.
Southern Eye was told that Tariro Magovanyika, a Zanu PF Cowdray Park Ackim Ndlovu district chairperson, and one Mark Makotami were in charge of the current invasions.
Magovanyika confirmed that the land grabs would continue, saying they were targeting under-utilised farms.
“In 2000, people got land and some of us were left out. We have studied ZimAsset and it says we should take charge of our resources and revive our industries and economy and what we are doing is to identify under-utilised farms to achieve that,” Magovanyika said.
“As it is, in Bulawayo we buy most of our edibles from Mashonaland because most of the farms here are under-utilised. However, I am not in charge of this invasion (Dabengwa farm), but there is a guy called Ngqabutho Nkomo, a former soldier based at Imbizo, who happens to be our shadow councillor in Cowdray Park who is working with another comrade called Mabadza. They are the ones in charge.”
He added: “I was in charge of the operations at Mazwi Nature Reserve where I have since allocated over 2 000 people pieces of land ranging up to 12 hectares. We have also taken a portion of Kloof Farm in Matabeleland North that was once owned by one A Viva and resettled our people there.”
Nkomo and Mabadza could not be reached for comment.
The Zanu PF officials were reportedly demanding groceries, $5 and money for fuel from anyone seeking land to travel to the invaded farms.