Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(HERALD) Ex-RBZ chief, new farmers clash

Ex-RBZ chief, new farmers clash
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 00:00
Elita Chikwati and Shiana Mhizha

FORMER Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Kombo Moyana is embroiled in an acrimonious land dispute with new farmers at Calgary Farm in Mazowe District. Farmers who benefited from the land reform programme at Calgary Farm between 2006 and 2008 allege that Dr Moyana sold his farm (Utopia Farm) for residential stands and was now encroaching onto their farms.

They say Dr Moyana has already been given an offer letter in what they allege as double allocation of farms by officials from the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Rural Resettlement.

Dr Moyana yesterday confirmed the development, but said it was his son Kombo (Junior) who was given the offer letter for Calgary Farm by Mashonaland Central Province Governor Martin Dinha.

“I am not the one who is involved in the issue. My son was given an offer letter for the area and these farmers do not have offer letters,” he said.

Dr Moyana said the farmers were resisting to move because Kombo (Junior) was from Manicaland Province.

“The issue is not about farming but area of origin. Is it Government’s policy that someone from Manicaland should not have a farm in Mashonaland?

“These people do not want anyone from another province in their area. Is this what we fought for?” he asked.

On the issue of selling part of his farm for residential stands, Dr Moyana said: “I was ordered by Harare City Council to stop farming and currently I do not have any farming land.”

Disgruntled farmers said Dr Moyana is grazing his cattle at some of their plots and has told them to vacate claiming to be the new owner.

One of the affected farmers, Mr Prince Danda, said although he had not received an eviction order officially, Dr Moyana had indicated that he was expanding his Utopia Farm into his plot, subdivision 9 of Calgary Farm.

Mr Danda was given an offer letter signed by the then Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the President’s Office, Cde Didymus Mutasa, in 2008.

“I’m surprised that Dr Moyana was given an offer letter for an occupied piece of land that is under production. How can the land be double allocated? He has vast swathes of land, and this is the only land I have,” he said.

Mr Danda said he is into livestock production, specialising in developing breeding stock for the beef industry, sheep and goats.

“I have nowhere to go and my project is in jeopardy.

“I have invested lots of money and now I cannot even plan anything as I can be displaced from this area any day,” he said.

“We were surprised when we were told that the land was no longer ours and it was now owned by Dr Moyana since some of us were given offer letters in 2006.

“I am doing a project of cross-breeding cows and so far I have pumped out more than US$50 000,” said Mr Danda.

Some of the farmers said it was unfair for Dr Moyana to occupy their farms when they were producing food while he wanted to develop residential stands.

“At least authorities should consider the activities being undertaken before removing people.

“We are producing food and this is prime land for farming. Why can’t the authorities give Dr Moyana (land for) residential stands from other areas where there are no farming activities taking place?” said another farmer.

Mr Martin Sibindi, who is also affected, said officials in Mashonaland Central Province told him that the land will be resubdivided.

Mr Sibindi got his offer letter in 2008.

“I am left with nothing. I received my offer letter in 2008 and to my surprise I am told that I now don’t have anything.

“This is not fair since the land is being given to one person who already has a very big piece of land.”

Mr Sibindi said he is into wildlife farming and eviction means he will lose everything he has worked for since 2009.

Mr Norbert Mutasa and Admire Chokuvamba, who got their offer letters in 2008, could not be reached for comment.

Dr Moyana refused to reveal his son’s contact details and the offer letter for the land, referring all questions to Governor Dinha.

Mashonaland Central chief lands officer Mr Gerald Chirapa said: “I do not want to talk to the media and as for that issue, I do not want to say anything. Why don’t you talk to the Governor?”

Governor Dinha yesterday confirmed there was a dispute over ownership of the farm.
He said the provincial lands committee recommended that more people be resettled on Calgary Farm, among them white farmer Georgina Brown and Kombo Moyana (Junior).

Governor Dinha said this was when the dispute started as the other beneficiaries wanted to block the entry of the new farmers.

According to documents shown to The Herald yesterday, Kombo Moyana Junior’s offer letter was dated 21 January 2012 and signed by Minister Herbert Murerwa.

“After a long dispute with old farmers resisting the coming in of these people (Brown and Moyana) the provincial taskforce on land investigated the matter and resolved that all the people including Moyana and Brown be accommodated at the farm.

“We have called the concerned parties more than four times to solve the issue. These people are now bringing tribal issues but our position is everyone has the right to land. Land is not a status symbol, those given land should use it. People should not complain when untilised land is being taken,” he said.

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