Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe yesterday dismissed as ‘unfounded” reports that he owned three farms saying he was only legally allocated Kondozi Farm in 2006.
Dr Mushohwe told The Herald that Zanu-PF provincial youth leader Cde Mubuso Chinguno, who peddled the falsehoods in the private media, was free to possess the farms he claimed the minister owned in Clare and Burma Valley.
Cde Chinguno claimed the minister acquired the farms when he was still the Manicaland Provincial Governor, adding that he would lead youths in repossessing the land for residential stands.
Responded Dr Mushohwe: “It is not the Governor who allocates farms. That is the sole responsibility of the minister responsible for lands. The only farm that was allocated to me was Kondozi Farm in 2006 and not 2004 as alleged, which is 1 100 hectares and not the 3 000 hectares claimed, with most of the hectares taken up by a mountain range anyway.
“I don’t own any other farms, contrary to reports and malicious allegations that have been repeated for some time now. The Manicaland youth chairman, who is quoted as the source of the story, is free to possess the farms claimed to be owned by me in Burma Valley and Clare area.”
He also dismissed reports that he was producing nothing at the farm saying Grain Marketing Board statistics were available for scrutiny.
“Year in year out we deliver huge tonnage to the GMB,” Dr Mushohwe said. “We are also producing a lot of products for horticultural consumers in Manicaland and we are busy preparing for the Command Agriculture programme.”
Dr Mushohwe said Government was working on various projects to ensure the youths got residential stands.
“My view is that Government should seek to build houses for people with complete infrastructure in place, rather than giving them a stand, which they must service and build,” he said.
“And in an economic environment like ours, where people are finding it difficult to put food on the table, building houses would be beyond the capacity of the majority of the intended beneficiaries. In fact, Government policy favours the construction of houses, preferably high-rise flats, and give complete units to the youths. This approach does not only guarantee the youths and other home-seekers accommodation only, but also revive the construction industry and create employment for the youths.”
Government has already put in place modalities to ensure youths in Harare and Bulawayo get land for residential stands.
Dr Mushohwe said Cde Chinguno’s allegations that the Zanu-PF leadership in Manicaland was not supporting youths programmes financially were also “misplaced”.
“I am not surprised that the youthful journalist in Mutare who wrote the story without verifying the facts may be waiting for an opportunity to be allocated a stand,” he said.
“Surprisingly, the journalist in question was the only one invited to attend the inter-district meeting held at Bezeley Bridge on Tuesday, 25th October, 2016.”
President Mugabe has been on record calling Zanu-PF youths to respect the party’s leadership and remain united, calls which seem to be falling on deaf ears. herald