FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has sensationally claimed that all top Zanu PF chefs have acquired title deeds to the farms they grabbed from white former farmers at the height of the land reform programme.
While making a presentation at the launch of his latest book in Bulawayo on Friday, Mutambara also claimed that the late former President Robert Mugabe had no faith in the land reform programme, and often insinuated that future generations could challenge the process.
The book, titled Ideas and Solutions: In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream, claims that several of Mugabe’s lieutenants had clandestinely acquired title deeds for their farms to protect themselves from future reclamation.
“In my book, I also reveal some interesting information. Mugabe did not have faith in the land reform programme. He said to me: ‘Mutambara, this land reform programme will be challenged by future generations.’
“‘Fifty years from now, they will be sitting and saying those guys in the year 2000 parcelled the land among themselves. We were not there, let’s reverse this thing’. Now, if Mugabe was of that mindset, you know what he did, he does not have a 99-year lease, he bought these farms and he had title deeds,” Mutambara said.
He said most of Mugabe’s lieutenants in the system had title deeds, adding that the 99-year leases were for some war veterans and low-ranking army officers.
“Any minister, any judge, any commander of consequence is holding onto a title deed. I will explain how it was done. You want to know how it was done during (former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon) Gono’s tenure, during the burning of cash.
“They would first chase away the farmer from the farm and the farmer will run away, go to Australia, go to New Zealand, go to Harare and live in a shack. They can’t pay fees for their children because they are desperate and they then follow the farmer six months later and ask ‘Mr Farmer, how much is your farm?’” Mutambara claimed.
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He said if the farmer would say US$50 million, they would reject the amount and offer to pay about US$4 million and out of desperation, the white farmer would take the amount and release the title deeds to them and keep quiet.
He said the top officials were “burning money” during Gono’s time to raise money to pay the desperate farmers.
“So, these guys are safe under any regime because they are holding on to title deeds,” Mutambara claimed.
He also bemoaned the closing of democratic space in the country ahead of elections.
Speaking at the launch, Citizen Coalition for Change deputy spokesperson Gift Siziba said Mutambara’s book presented solutions to resolve the leadership question in Zimbabwe.
“This book is a reminder to us as young people that this country is not short of ideas, but is short of leadership. The greatest challenge that we face 43 years after independence is the deficit of stewardship and leadership, the ability to change the lives of ordinary people,” Siziba said.
The launch was chaired by former State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo and was attended by former ministers Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, David Coltart, academics, local politicians and civil society representatives.