Takunda Maodza Assistant News Editor
MANICALAND Governor Cde Mandiitawepi Chimene has taken over Mona Agro Farm on the outskirts of Rusape town, an investment project linked to former Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
Allegations are that during his tenure as Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Mutasa used his political clout to protect white commercial farmers in the province.
Now Cde Chimene has taken over Mona Farm, an investment strongly linked to Mutasa who had settled his constituency officer, Mrs Christine Murembwe, to mind his interests.
A white commercial farmer, whom Mutasa was protecting all along, occupied the remainder of the 1 117- hectare farm before Cde Chimene moved in recently.
Mrs Murembwe was settled at Mona Farm although she has another piece of land at Dyffryn Farm within the same vicinity.
“Cde Chimene took over Mona Farm a few days ago and is staying there. She had a farm at Penhalonga but the farm is now under the Mutare City masterplan,” said a source.
Cde Chimene confirmed settling at Mona Farm in an interview with The Herald recently.
“I was allocated the farm by the lands committee. My farm in Mutasa was affected by urban expansion and is now in the Mutare City masterplan,” she said.
“Mutasa had left whites on the farm but in fact it was his farm and they had formed an agro-tourism joint venture. Murembwe was overseeing operations at the farm on behalf of Mutasa and was Mutasa’s constituency secretary as well.”
Cde Chimene said only white commercial farmers involved in dairy farming and other “specialists fields” would not have their farms acquired for resettlement.
Meanwhile, Mutasa is accused of having annexed neighbouring farms during his tenure as lands minister.
One of the farms belonged to national hero Cde Josiah Tungamirai.
Sources say Mutasa was allocated 400 hectares of land during the agrarian reforms but added 370 more hectares to his Lonecop Farm.
Mutasa annexed part of Cde Tungamirai’s farm and used his political muscle to allocate the late hero’s widow Pamela another farm in Beatrice near Harare.
“He was initially allocated 400 hectares at Lonecop Farm. He then influenced the lands committee to give him an additional 370 hectares from Sunrise Farm around 2006-7. Then he was Minister of Lands.
“He allocated Mai Tungamirai a farm in Beatrice and immediately started farming on the late hero’s farm after annexing part of it,” added the source.
“As to how he ended up at Tungamirai’s farm, only God knows. He now has over 900 hectares of land.”
Efforts to get a comment from Lands and Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora were fruitless while Mutasa was not reachable on his mobile phone.