BY PRIMROSE HAISA
FORMER Labour minister and nephew to the late former President Robert Mugabe, Patrick Zhuwao (pictured), has lashed out at President Emmerson Mnangagwa, describing him as a trivial leader whose pettiness risked exposing many people to hunger.
He was reacting to the seizure of his farm by government. In a letter dated February 11 by Lands minister Perrance Shiri, Zhuwao has been ordered off his 827-hectare Diandra Farm in Mashonaland West province.
But Zhuwao, a self-exiled former member of the vanquished G40 faction, has angrily reacted to the seizure of his farm, saying: “Despite the fact that we made personal investments that have significant impact on contributing towards food security, it is sad that Mnangagwa’s pettiness is putting people’s lives at risk of famine.
“We financed the operations from bank loans which we consistently paid back despite the various disturbances that l encountered. We have over 1 000 overhead sprinkler units which can irrigate 150 hectares. We also invested in centre pivot irrigation equipment for 187,5 hectares. Due to the continuous requirements for electricity during tobacco curing, we have 230 KVA standby power generation capacities.”
He said the farm was an integrated hybrid cropping and livestock enterprise relying on state-of-the-art technology that he claims to have introduced since he took over the farm.
He said the farm was structured to produce a special breed of quality beef cattle weaners for new farmers who need fast growing, but hardy and resilient cattle.
“We were so successful in terms of quality stock that we won Zimbabwe Agricultural Society prizes for the best beef cow in 2012, second best beef cow in 2016, and second beef bull in 2012,” he said.
“On the tobacco front, we were amongst the pioneers of hydroponic floating tray technology for tobacco seedling production. We became so competent at this technology that the Tobacco Research Board would regularly visit us to see what innovations we were working on. We even had a technical delegation visit us from Iran to learn about tobacco seedlings production using deep water culture hydroponics.”