Scores of militant Zanu PF supporters have invaded Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa’s Rudy Farm in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North claiming he is underutilising it..
The Zanu PF supporters from various high-density suburbs of Bulawayo, claiming to have the blessings of the party’s top brass, yesterday vowed to stay put on Dabengwa’s farm saying it was too big for him.
They told Southern Eye at the farm that the invasion was a continuation of Zanu PF’s ongoing programme to ensure that all landless blacks had land.
According to the land grabbers, the former Zipra top commander and other black farmers in Matabeleland are to blame for the collapse of Bulawayo industries.
The Zanu PF supporters said farm owners in Matabeleland were underperforming, resulting in farmers from Mashonaland selling their produce in the region.
“We are not going anywhere as you can see. I failed to get any land in 2000 and this is my time,” one of the invaders, Witness Mathuthu, who claimed to be from Cowdray Park, said.
Southern Eye was informed that Zanu PF officials, who led the invasion of the Bulawayo City Council-owned Mazwi Nature Reserve close to St Peter’s on the outskirts of the city last month were the ones leading the seizure of Dabengwa’s farm.
A command centre has been reportedly set up at Mazwi Nature Reserve where any individual seeking land can approach Zanu PF officials to be allocated a piece of land at the sanctuary, Dabengwa’s farm and other properties targeted for invasions. Southern Eye was told that Tariro Magovanyika, a Zanu PF Cowdray Park district chairperson, Ackim Ndlovu and Mark Makotami were in charge of the current invasions.
Magovanyika confirmed that the land grabs would continue, saying they were targeting underutilised farms.
“In 2000, people got land and some of us were left out. We have studied ZimAsset and it says we should take charge of our resources, revive our industries and economy and what we are doing is to identify underutilised farms to achieve that,” he said.
“As it is, in Bulawayo we buy most of our edibles from Mashonaland because most of the farms here are underutilised.
“However, I am not in charge of this invasion, but there is a guy called Ngqabutho Nkomo, a former soldier based at Imbizo, who happens to be our shadow councillor in Cowdray Park who is working with another comrade called Mabadza. They are the ones in charge,” Magovanyika said.
“I was in charge of the operations at Mazwi Game Reserve where I have since allocated over 2 000 people pieces of land ranging up to 12 hectares.
“We have also taken a portion of Kloof Farm in Matabeleland North that was once owned by one A Viva and resettled our people there.”
Nkomo and Mabadza could not be reached for comment.
The Zanu PF officials are reportedly demanding groceries, $5 and money for fuel from anyone seeking land to travel to the invaded farms. Dabengwa confirmed Wednesday that his farm had been invaded.
“I have been told by my employees that the farm has been invaded. I don’t know the motive behind all this,” he said.
“I am travelling to the farm in the evening to find out more about this. I cannot say much now because I don’t have details.”