Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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War vets take over fishing lodge in Hippo Valley

War vets take over fishing lodge in Hippo Valley


Mteri Lodge

By Tererai Karimakwenda
09 January, 2012

Two lodges that cater to fisherman, and a small game reserve on the Hippo Valley Estates, were illegally taken by war vets in late December.

Gerry Whitehead, one of the few remaining white farmers in the area, said an initial attempt was made in September to take over Mteri Lodge in the Lowveld region, and police responded as they should and moved the war vets.

But the same group returned a couple of months later and took over, without any police interference. “The cooks and other staff remained but the actual management is gone and so is the security,” Whitehead said.

He described the evictions as a “western-style” gangland takeover, referring to the lawless, gun slingers portrayed in American cowboy movies. The war vets are accused of large-scale poaching on the estate, where there are herds of buffalo, eland, antelope and other small game.

According to Whitehead a white farmer named Richard Drummond, who works with the war vets, is alleged to be eyeing the hunting concessions there, so he can bring tourists to hunt the remaining game.

Drummond, who is a white Zimbabwean, is also alleged to have taken part in failed attempts to take over other properties in the Hippo Valley area.

“There are no white farmers remaining on the estate now. The farms have all been taken,” Whitehead explained.

Reports of war vets and ZANU PF chefs illegally taking over property and companies are nothing new in Zimbabwe. But the lawless nature of recent takeovers has disappointed many Zimbabweans who hoped for a return to the rule of law when the coalition government was created over three years ago.

The co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone has admitted she has no power to stop ZANU PF thugs, even in her own constituency where she said they run wild. Unfortunately this chaos drives away potential investors, at a time when Zimbabwe urgently needs foreign capital.

See pictures of Mteri Lodge


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