Despite a series of ongoing demonstrations by angry Chipinge East community members including war veterans, youths and women, Joseph Chinotimba has finally occupied 175 hectares of Chihoza Farm in Daisy Hill, Chipinge.

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The demonstrators at Chihoza Farm.

The demonstrators at Chihoza Farm.

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In recent weeks riot police have been watching a group of Zanu(PF) youths and war veterans who had intentions to stop the Buhera South MP from occupying the farm.

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Impeccable sources told The Zimbabwean this week that in the first instance it was purported that it was his son, Edwin, who was occupying the farm. But it has come out that in fact it was Chinotimba himself.

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Former Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Christopher Mushohwe, allocated Edwin Chinotimba the offer letter late last year to occupy the land, which has 30 hectares of Macadamia trees ready to harvest.

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“Chinotimba came with the tractor and it tilled the land last weekend. He had a meeting with Chief Maswera and the surrounding headmen urging them to let him occupy the farm,” said the source.

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The traditional leaders reportedly refused to assist him, arguing that the remaining farms in Chipinge should benefit locals who did not have land as most of the farms were owned by people who do not hail from Chipinge.

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“He (Chinotimba) is telling people that he was now the one to occupy the land as reward from President Robert Mugabe for playing an important role in removing Mai (Joice) Mujuru,” said the source.

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Chinotimba is reportedly mobilising people to back his son to represent Chipinge East in the 2018 parliamentary elections.

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Chihoza Farm was previously co-owned by the former CEO of Nicolle Gold, a Mr Gura, and two foreigners, a Mauritian and a Frenchman, under the company name Voida Brawn. It was gazetted for acquisition in 2000 but later delisted after Gura became the sole owner.

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One of the demonstrators, Naison Chitima, said they would continue staging peaceful demonstrations until all landless people in Chipinge got a share of Chihoza Farm. “We are going to engage the Minister of State. After that we will proceed to Mazowe and meet Amai Mugabe and tell her our problems here,” he said.

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“Youth have been biting the dust since the land reform began, yet they were at the forefront of invading the white- owned farms. It is not fair to see outsiders coming here with offer letters indicating that they were given land by the government ,yet people here are landless,” said Chitima.

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A war veteran, who identified himself as Cde Bandama, said Chihoza Farm should benefit the local people who were displaced in Gwenzi and Mugondi during the land reform.

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“There are small holder farmers in Gwenzi and Mugondi who lost their farms following a high court ruling and they are now landless. They are the ones who should be given first priority to own the available land,” he said.

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The local MP Winmore Mlambo said he had for a long time been asking government to give land to locals. “Now my people are surprised to see Chinotimba coming here with an offer letter claiming that he was given a farm,” Mlambo said.

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Efforts to get comment from Chinotimba were fruitless as his mobile phone was continuously not reachable.