By Xolisani Ncube | NewsDay |
The Zanu PF youth league has demanded that government repossesses at least 15 farms allegedly owned by former First Lady Grace Mugabe and redistribute them to youths.
This follows claims by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that the former First Family owns a staggering 16 commercial farms in a revelation that could reignite the public spat between the Zanu PF leader and his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
Zanu PF youth league deputy secretary Lewis Matutu, who is also a member of the party’s politburo, said the ex-Zanu PF women’s league boss should be left with one farm and the rest subdivided and distributed to landless youths.
“Now that it has been revealed that Grace Mugabe owns 16 farms, we are demanding that she chooses one and the other 15 be sub-divided into 10-hectare plots for youths within two weeks,” Matutu tweeted.
Matutu’s boss, Pupurai Togarepi said the farms should be repossessed.
“We want the farms back!” Togarepi stated.
Mugabe, who was toppled in a coup in November 2017 to pave way for Mnangagwa, has repeatedly accused the new administration of hounding his family.
At some point, Mugabe claimed that the Mnangagwa regime was harassing workers at his Blue Roof mansion.
In the build-up to the July 2018 elections, Mnangagwa said he suspected that Grace was behind the White City Stadium bomb explosion that claimed two lives and left many Zanu PF officials injured, including Vice-President Kembo Mohadi and his counterpart Constantino Chiwenga’s wife, Marry.
Mnangagwa was lucky to escape unscathed.
Last year, war veterans petitioned government, demanding that the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, named after the former leader, be changed as the ex-Zanu PF boss no longer deserved to be honoured because he was now dining with the main opposition, MDC.
The two appeared to have mended their relationship after the government hired an expensive private jet for Grace to come home and bury her mother last year, but Mnangagwa’s revelation that the former First Lady is one of the bigwigs set to lose some farms after the conclusion of the land audit could create tension.
Taking questions on his first radio interview hosted by the State-controlled CapitalkFM on Friday, Mnangagwa disclosed that Grace had 16 farms although he did not mention her by name, but used a pseudonym, “Dr Stop it”.
“The (land audit) is still on-going and results will be made public. The briefing I have received is that only two provinces are left to complete the process. The main issue we have identified is the issue of multiple farm ownership, especially among people in higher offices. For example, I know of one lady who has 16 farms — Dr Stop It,” disclosed Mnangagwa.
Grace became known as “Dr Stop It” at the height of Zanu PF factional wars where she used rallies to admonish Mugabe’s then deputies — Joice Mujuru and Mnangagwa.
She accused the two of trying to usurp Mugabe’s power to enrich themselves. Mujuru was eventually kicked out of government in 2014, while Mnangagwa was fired in November 2017 before he bounced back a few days after the military coup.
Attempts to get a comment from the Mugabes were fruitless, but Jealousy Mawarire, the spokesperson of the National Patriotic Front, a party that was linked to the ex-leader said Mnangagwa had lied.
“That could have been possible had your so-called President not been hallucinating. You are better off sharing his 700 gold mines than non-existent farms,” Mawarire said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said the youth league was better placed to comment on the matter.
“Let their spokesperson deal with that, we shall deal with it when it is escalated to us,” Khaya Moyo said.