Itai Mazire – Sunday Mail Reporter

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The Manicaland provincial leadership has concluded an investigation into former Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa’s alleged shady land deals in which he gave farms to cronies, including lawfully evicted white farmers.

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Mutasa is accused of illegally distributing farms during his stint as the National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister.

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Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandi Chimene said the provincial leadership would meet to table findings of their investigation, which started in January 2015.

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“The audit is complete and the lands committee will meet sometime this week. A date will be set on Monday. The Mutasa case is on the agenda. We do not need to pre-empt their findings before the land committee sits,” she said.

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Preliminary findings indicate Mutasa illegally allocated land and protected seven white farmers in Makoni and Headlands who continued to occupy farms constitutionally gazetted for resettlement.

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One of them, Jasc Bakker, was recently evicted from a farm on the outskirts of Rusape.

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The probe teams identified Lazybury, Jackbetter, Divorce, Mano, Dayfren and Fairfiledten farms as the properties in question.

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Mutasa also allegedly gave Wazvari and Mona farms to two female liaisons.

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He is said to have annexed the late Cde Josiah Tungamirai and Cde Gibson Munyoro’s Lonecope Farm in the Rusape area and allocated the land to his three wives.

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A close relative, Guy Mutasa, was given Mutambara Farm, which is 25km from Rusape; while a Colonel (Retired) Mutasa was allocated Rungutai Far.

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In Nyazura, Mutasa allegedly gave Folkington Farm to another lover and he also grabbed Zingondi Farm in Rusape. In Headlands, Mutasa is said to have grabbed Homewood Farm, which is currently being run by a white farmer identified as Chadwick, who is paying rentals to the ex-minister. The farm was allocated to a nephew who lives in the United Kingdom.

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Last week, Government exposed a scam in which white commercial farmers are being shielded by Zanu-PF bigwigs.

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Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said some white farmers were pretending to be into dairy farming and seed production, which are specially exempt sectors, so that the farms would not be gazetted for resettlement. Some of the so-called dairy farmers were keeping just three cattle. President Mugabe recently made it clear that land reforms would continue as Government seeks to ensure the previously disadvantaged black majority benefits from the country’s natural resources.

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While focus will turn to the enclave safari and game sector which whites continue to dominate, attention will also be paid to areas where Zanu-PF officials are colluding to frustrate the revolutionary land reform programme.