Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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ZanuPF steals farm, land and future

Zanu (PF) steals farm, land and future

Written by Tony Saxon
Friday, 15 April 2011 11:13

Named & Shamed
Five Zanu (PF) ministers among the senior party officials to join the 
looting spree at Kondizi Farm: Didymus Mutasa, Joseph Made, Christopher 
Mushohwe, Munacho Mutezo and Mike Nyambuya.

Stolen equipment
48 tractors
4 Scania trucks
5 UD trucks
26 motorbikes
several T35 trucks

MUTARE – Where 5000 Zimbabwean employees once made a good living off the 
productive land, there is now severe hunger. Where healthy crops once 
sprouted, there are now nothing but weeds.

This is the sad story of Kondozi Farm, formerly one of Zimbabwe’s biggest 
horticultural products exporters, before it was ruined by Zanu (PF) after 
its often bloody land seizures under President Robert Mugabe.

Good Friday 2004 was not so good for Edwin Moyo – the rightful owner of the 
farm located in Odzi, about 40km west of Mutare, and his 5000 workers.
Dozens of armed police arrived with water cannons, submachine guns and 
ordered everyone to vacate the property.

The partisan police and overzealous war veterans blocked off the road 
leading to the farm, looted the offices and beat anyone who sought to resist 
their orders.

Five Zanu (PF) ministers, namely Didymus Mutasa, Joseph Made, Christopher 
Mushohwe, Munacho Mutezo and Mike Nyambuya, were among the senior party 
officials to join the looting spree.

Zimbabwe’s Attorney General gave the cabinet ministers a couple of months to 
return equipment looted from key horticultural farms or face arrest. But the 
order fell on deaf ears as the ministers defied the call.

The stolen equipment included 48 tractors, four Scania trucks, five UD 
trucks, several T35 trucks and 26 motorbikes. Several tonnes of fertilisers 
and chemicals were also lost.

The High Court in May 2004 granted Barclays an order to repossess all 
movable farming equipment at Kondozi Farm.

Movable assets listed in the court order included an ERF 30-tonne truck, 
two-tonne forklifts, 30 motorised knapsacks, 10 Jialings, 15 Same tractors, 
six Nissan Diesel UD 90 chassis & cab trucks, three Nissan Cabstar 4-tonne 
trucks, two Nissan 2,7 S/cab trucks and two Nissan 2,7 Hardbody D/cabs.

Barclays-Fincor, Zimbank-Syfrets and the African Banking Corporation were 
the chief sponsors of Kondozi, which had established lucrative export 
markets in South Africa and Europe.

But unlike earlier farm seizures, the takeover of Kondozi prompted 
questions. Many Zimbabweans were puzzled at how the Zanu (PF) government 
could take a business which was owned by a black man, employed so many 
people and generated so much precious foreign currency.

In defending the takeover, Zanu (PF) officials pointed out that although 
Moyo was majority owner of the business, a white family – the De Klerks – 
still owned the land.

Yet even within Mugabe’s party, the seizure provoked outrage so intense it 
caused a rare public fracture.

The late Vice President Joseph Msika, who oversaw land redistribution for 
Mugabe, in vain tried to block the takeover.

Vice President Joice Mujuru, who chaired the National Economic Recovery 
Council, also unsuccessfully tried to push for the revival of Kondozi as one 
of the major objectives of the National Economic Development Programme.
Shocked workers and nearby villagers – many of whom relied cheap produce 
from the land – were left with nothing as they pondered their future.

Moyo owned 52 per cent of Kondozi, running a horticultural company that 
stocked vegetable bins throughout Britain and brought in $15 million a year 
to Zimbabwe.

Life was good at Kondozi

A former supervisor at the farm, who is now living in poverty, said: “Life 
was good at Kondozi. We were paid handsomely and everything flowed smoothly.

We never complained of anything. But when the farm was invaded we were left 
jobless. Since that time I am still jobless.”

A former accounts department employee, who now survives on cross-border 
trading, said: “I will never forgive them (Zanu PF) for invading the farm. 
We were living a comfortable life. The administration of the farm was good,” 
he added.

“It was a very big company as there were three buses that carried the 
workers from Mutare daily to and from work. It was a prestigious company to 
work for and everyone cherished it.”

Jeffrey Marange, a former senior employee, said Kondozi was history which 
left behind permanent scars of sad memories.
“Look at Kondozi today, it is like a desert. We used to live a good life but 
since Zanu (PF) took away the farm the workers were left suffering and up to 
now some are still leaving in abject poverty.”

Marange said some workers, many of them general hands, remain unemployed and 
have accused Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) of being insensitive to their plight.
But the Kondozi debacle has returned to haunt Zanu (PF). Kondozi farm lies 
in Mutare West constituency which used to be a stronghold of Zanu (PF) where 
Manicaland illegal governor Chris Mushowe dominated.

At the 2008 harmonized election the people in Mutare West, still suffering 
the pain of the closure of Kondozi Farm, voted for change.

Shaur Mudiwa of PM Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC pipped Mushowe, a shock result 
which further suggested Zanu (PF) support was fading in the province.

“People are angry with what Mushowe and other Zanu (PF) did by closing and 
invading Kondozi Farm,” said a traditional leader, who requested anonymity 
for fear of severe reprisals.

“Zanu (PF) will never win an election here again. Most villagers who used to 
work at the farm are still angry. Since 2006 some of our children have not 
been going to school, as the former Kondozi workers did not have any income 
at all. This is a very grave mistake that Zanu (PF) made.”

Another former worker said: “As workers we can easily identify the ministers 
who had disposed the company’s assets in underhand dealings. A lot of spare 
parts were sold and machinery and other vehicles were looted and we ended up 
recovering scrap metal for our day-today operations.”

Twenty-two farmers, most of whom are black and who sold beans, corn, melons 
and other crops under contract to Kondozi, also lost their livelihoods.
Hundreds more workers were employed by these smaller farms, many of which 
have stopped producing and are now living in poverty.

A visit to Kondozi Farm today shows that on Kondozi’s 550 acres, only a few 
fields still had crops, and these are stunted and immature grown by war 
veterans who do not have technical farming expertise.

In April 2004, the same month Kondozi was seized, the United Nations World 
Food Programme reported feeding 4.5 million Zimbabweans.

The closure of Kondozi Farm brought more suffering to the community as 
school going children dropped out of school. Girls have been married off to 
better-off families in exchange of food.
Prostitution and illegal mining has become rife since the collapse of the 

The disheartened workers have called for the farm to be returned to previous 
owner, Moyo.

One worker said: “We were better off when we were under Moyo. We enjoyed 
everything and we led a normal life. We could afford to live a life with all 
the basics, but now we have been made to suffer by few corrupt individuals 
and crooks who want to reap where they did not sow.”

The suffering former workers said they have sold property, clothes and 
everything they had accumulated in the previous years to buy food.

Former employee Aleck Jangano said: “Our girl children have ventured into 
prostitution. There have been family breakdowns, as some wives have deserted 
their homes and have been married by illegal diamond dealers at nearby 
Chiadzwa diamond field.”

The present state of the farm, previously the cash-cow for most residents of 
the city Mutare and Odzi villagers, has left the community hopeless and 
pondering a future which appears bleak.


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