‘First Family deserves more land’


Lands and Land Resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora says President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace deserve more land as they have proved to be productive farmers who are able to maximise production.


Speaking at a field day at Grace Mugabe Foundation Farm in Mazowe yesterday, Mombeshora said he was not ashamed to parcel out more land to the First Family as they had proved to be “real farmers” putting their land to maximum usage.

“I hear people saying we are giving more land to the First Family, what is wrong with that?

“Are they not Zimbabweans? And from what we have seen here, they are productive,” he said.

“Most of us are good at fault-finding instead of coming here to see for ourselves what they are doing and celebrate with them.
“Some of us have been written about in the media several times, it’s just that we don’t respond.

“We have been attacked over this farm, but let me say this today: I am happy that we gave the First Lady this farm because people who were here were not productive.”

Grace in 2013 grabbed 1 600 hectares of prime land from Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed agro producer Interfresh’s Mazoe Citrus Estate to expand her orphanage located close to the estate.

According to Mombeshora, three farms were combined to make a single property now owned by the First Lady through her orphanage.
Government policy stipulated that one family should have only one farm, but the First Family and several Cabinet ministers among other well connected people, reportedly own several farms.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said a land audit would expose his Cabinet colleagues owning multiple farms, warning that they would soon lose part of their vast land.

The minister said those who received land from government after the 2000 land reform programme should not support the opposition as they risked losing their farms.

At the Mazowe farm, the First Lady has put a large portion of the land under maize production with Mombeshora saying it was meant to feed children at the Grace Mugabe Children’s Home.

“Let us take farming as a business; we must not be importing maize meal when we have such farmers as the First Family. We should copy from them and implement it at our farms,” he said.

Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha said he was considering acquiring more land from the Mazowe Estate Company claiming that the firm was battling to utilise the property.

“When we took this piece of land, we were attacked but we left them with a portion which they are failing to fully utilise,” he said.

“They are not paying workers, their tractors are down and there is no production to talk about.

“I think we must relook at that issue, Cde Minister.”

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo was the guest of honour at the field day and was accompanied by Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, among other senior government officials.

The First Lady did not attend the function and was represented by the foundation head Stanley Nhari, who is the farm manager.