MORE than 160 white commercial farmers in Mashonaland East province will soon be removed from their properties as the government claims they are occupying the land illegally.
The development comes after President Robert Mugabe claimed that some 163 farmers were illegal staying on the farms because they were being protected by dismissed Mashonaland East Zanu-PF provincial chairperson, Ray Kaukonde.
Kaukonde was ousted from the party provincial post over allegations he was financing a coup plot by former vice president Joice Mujuru.
Mugabe threatened the farmers while partying to celebrate his 91st birthday in Victoria Falls last Saturday.
And soon after Mugabe’s remarks, Lands and Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora has quickly moved to please his boss.
According to Mombeshora, indications are that scores of white commercial farmers are still occupying vast swathes of land under the guise of special sectors protection, yet they are engaging in farming activities which are not covered by the scheme.
Farmers who exempted from redistribution of land are those involved ventures of diary and seed production.
Mombeshora has said the government was keen to see practical activities at every farm adding this would help to expose “malcontents” abusing the special sector exemption facility.
He said the Mashonaland East land audit, which unearthed Kaukonde’s “corrupt activities”, would be replicated in other provinces.
Mombeshora claimed that the problem of shielding white farmers was also prevalent in Mashonaland West where another Zanu-PF provincial chairperson, Temba Mliswa was dismissed last year.
Mliswa was also one of the provincial chairpersons who were purged on charges of supporting former Mujuru’s alleged bid to stage a coup against Mugabe.
The threats by Mugabe came barely a week after he publicly admitted that the land reform process was chaotic and regretted giving black Zimbabweans farms as they were failing to utilise productively. –
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