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    Saturday, 9 July 2016

    Mugabe stops Tongaat land grab




    MORRIS BISHI
    CHIREDZI BUREAU

    CHIREDZI
    – There is a jubilant mood and a sigh of relief in the sugarcane town of Chiredzi after President Robert Mugabe stopped and reversed the decision by greedy Government ministers to grab 4 000 hectares of Tongaat Hullet sugarcane fields and parcel it out among themselves and their cronies.
    Mugabe said that those new farmers who wanted to grow sugarcane should be assisted to get plots in the vast tracts of virgin land that is found in Chiredzi, said sources.
    The land grab led by the Minister of State for Masvingo Shuvai Mahofa and her Government colleague, Douglas Momboshora who is the Minister of Lands and Rural Ressettlement would have caused disastrous consequences on the economy including the immediate loss of jobs to 2 000 workers.
    According to sources who attended a meeting between Mugabe and 20 legislators from Masvingo at State House this past Saturday, the veteran politician told the meeting that Tongaat sugarcane fields cannot be taken away from the company because Tongaat was protected under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) signed between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
    Tongaat is a South African company.
    Mugabe is said to have expressed shock at the move by Dr Mombeshora and ordered the Minister to go and learn more about BIPPAs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    He said the move by Mombeshora and Mahofa had actually left him embarrassed at a recent regional meeting in Botswana when South African President, Jacob Zuma confronted him over the land grab and he (President Mugabe) was actually not aware of it as he hadn't approved the programme. He said he was actually shocked when Mombeshora himself confirmed the allegations made by Zuma.
    Mugabe said the move by Mombeshora would strain the relationship between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
    Mugabe told Mombeshora that he never approved the grabbing of Tongaat land saying the company is a South African public enterprise which is meant to make its own profits and is protected under BIPPA of which Mombeshora was supposed to know.
    Mugabe said it was the duty of Government to develop land for its people rather than for politicians to look up to Tongaat Hullet for everything.
    The Mirror is also reliably informed that in the same meeting MP for Chiredzi South Rtd General Kallisto Gwanetsa reminded Mugabe that he (Gwanetsa) at one time led Chiredzi Chiefs to State House begging for land when he was still Zanu PF Chairperson but Mugabe advised them that Tongaat Hullet`s 29000 hectares under sugarcane should be maintained. 
    Sources said all MPs from Chiredzi Denford Masiya, Kallisto Gwanetsa, Darlington Chiwa and Robert Mukwena formed a tag team in which they vociferously attacked Mombeshora`s move which they said was bent on satisfying political ambitions of State Minister Shuvai Mahofa and their faction. They said the Lands Minister was ruthless as all efforts to appraise him on the fate of 2000 workers and their dependents fell on deaf ears.
    It is said that during the meeting Mombeshora was asked how he came up with the list of beneficiaries of the 4000hectares of which he only managed to explain 126 beneficiaries out of 196. Mugabe further lambasted Mombeshora by telling him that the program was supposed to benefit people from Chiredzi only.
    Residents of Chiredzi were in a jubilant mood this week after the news broke out.
    Many people who spoke to The Mirror were happy with President Mugabe's intervention.Top story news
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