Friday, 31 August 2018

WHAT TO DO WITH MUGABE'S 15 FARMS

Threats to strip former president Robert Mugabe of his rumoured 15 farms are being seen more as cheap politicking as most Zanu PF officials own several farms each.

In a recent interview with the Independent Foreign Service, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he was still receiving evidence of what the former first family owns, amid indications that Mugabe has in excess of 15 farms.

“When that process is complete, they will select one farm and the rest will be given elsewhere,” Mnangagwa said. “It’s not a question of voluntarily giving up, but about complying with the policy.”
In terms of government policy, an individual should not own more than one farm.

Regardless, most Zanu PF officials are multiple farm owners.
In fact, ahead of the July 30 elections, Mnangagwa told a group of white supporters in Harare that many in the ruling party had acquired more than one farm.

“We must correct that. Whoever has multiple farms, one for himself, one for the son and one for the grandchild, that land must be acquired,” he said.

But analysts believe Mnangagwa’s move to take farms from Mugabe could backfire as most of his officials in Zanu PF and government, were multiple farm owners.
Award-winning playwright Cont Mhlanga said Mugabe is not the only one with multiple, under-utilised farms and it was insincere to single him out of the Zanu PF pack of high-ranking officials with multiple farms.

“Mugabe was their equal to Jesus just last year and they protected him to lie when he called out on many occasions about the land audit to weed out multiple farm owners when they knew he himself had multiple farms and was even privatising dams he did not build.

“Today, Mugabe all of a sudden has become their devil; they shout about taking his many farms. What kind of people are our leaders? Are they equal con-artists?”
Mhlanga said if there are people with multiple farms in Mnangagwa’s administration and Second Republic then let Mugabe keep his many farms.

“Farms are an economic matter for the nation. It is only wise for the president to keep politics out of the matter of farms and deal with them using enterprise principles and policies. Justice and equality cannot be selective,” said the controversial playwright.
Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga is of the opinion that a personal crusade by Mnangagwa against Mugabe sounds very much like vengeance and not justice.

“Mnangagwa should work within the framework of the rule of law and allow a comprehensive land audit to be completed and then address the short-comings of land reform comprehensively without singling out Mugabe.

“Many Zanu PF cronies own multiple farms each, so corrective measures must be collective, comprehensive and systematic, and not personalised to target individuals now out of favour with the establishment,” said Mavhinga.

Zimbabwe Human Rights (ZimRights) director Okay Machisa could only say: “I do not think Mnangagwa will take farms from Mugabe. When he was grabbing the farms Mnangagwa was there. I truly think it’s just a talk which will not be implemented.

“Who will take stock of what has been done? If Mnangagwa is serious let us see publicly all Mugabe’s 15 farms and who shall be given 14 and which one Mugabe will be left with. I will salute him if he does this publicly!”

Political commentator Vivid Gwede said: “The one-man one-farm policy is something which Zimbabweans have been waiting for eagerly as necessary to efficient, productive and equitable agriculture.

“However, it must not be used for purposes of grandstanding when many influential people are left because of their political relevance to the current administration.

“A meaningful policy is one that is applied impartially and uniformly. Thus, the imperative of a genuine Land Commission and agrarian reorganisation should be implemented in earnest.

“Zanu PF is apparently not ready for that because that touches raw nerves, destabilises and ruffles the system of patronage, which is the main basis of cohesion in the ruling elite.”

Gwede added that only a new and impartial government can implement that given it acquires the guts. “So for a long time we might have these black farms barons who are not real farmers, but concerned with holding multiple farms for speculative and prestige purposes.”

Crisis Coalition spokesperson Tabani Moyo said Mnangagwa has been desperately seeking Mugabe’s approval for a long time.

“He employed both orthodox and underhand methods to achieve this state. That’s why you saw his excitement when he read the letter, which under normal circumstances could have been read by the Master of Ceremonies or during closing remarks.

“The pressure that was mounted by war vets, senior party officials, was aimed at sending a signal that the Zanu PF way of running dry those who desert ship and become talkative was in full swing! Its purpose has been achieved in the presence of both AU and Sadc chairpersons. So going forward, he will continue enjoying the filthy lucre,” said Moyo.

Moyo added that he strongly doubts that Mnangagwa will strip Mugabe of his other farms. “It was a carrot and stick approach, the bulk of the leadership has plenty of farms. The past land audits will inform you the verdict on Mugabe land ownership issues — where are they?”

Media and political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said: “I think Mugabe has already forestalled that by endorsing Mnangagwa. And it is a difficult call as almost all in Zanu PF have more than one farm and taking from Mugabe and leaving others will be seen as politicking.

“The land reform exercise needs a proper and dispassionate resolution otherwise there will be some farm realignment every time someone loses power in Zanu PF. It is one area that Mnangagwa needs sustainable policy rather than the charade we see now.” Daily News

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