“There was a heated debate at the company premises and the youths were saying if Nestle still wants to operate from Zimbabwe they should just buy the milk. They said the company should not get political otherwise they were going to lose it,” said the source.
A Zimbabwean lawyer Selby Hwacha who is representing Nestle confirmed the development on Saturday saying a tanker full of milk from the dairy had to be turned away on Friday despite a protest from a group of youths from Zanu PF.
“Its true there was a tanker from Gushungo Dairy estate that was turned away. The company has made it clear that it will no longer by milk from the said suppliers,” said Hwacha without elaborating.
The group of Zanu PF youths led by Youth Minister and Zanu PF politburo member Savior Kasukuwere’s young brother Tongai, tried in vain tried to force Nestle Zimbabwe employees to offload 22 000 litres of milk from President Robert Mugabe’s farm.
The tanker carrying the milk, which has been dubbed “blood milk” by activists against Mugabe’s continued grip on power, failed to offload after more than four hours of intense negotiations.
Sources from the Nestle’s Southerton depot in Harare said the Zanu PF youth threatened the management with company seizures if they continued with their stance.
Contacted for a comment Kasukuwere junior declined to comment about Friday’s protest.
Nestle-Zimbabwe stopped buying milk from Gushongo Dairy Estates, a farm owned by President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace, which was seized under his controversial land reforms following and international campaign calling on a boycott of all Nestle products.
Nestle said in light of the recent controversy surrounding our relationship with the Gushungo Dairy Estate, “we believe that thisannouncement reflects our long-term commitment to Zimbabwe while acknowledging the specific circumstances around these events.”
Meanwhile a pioneering indigenous commercial farmer has been evicted from his farm in defiance of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal ruling barring his eviction.
The SADC Tribunal ruled recently that the repossession and sale of the farm by Agribank in order to recoup an outstanding loan was “illegal and void.” The regional court also ordered the government to take all the necessary measures through its agents from evicting Tembani (72) or his family from the property and to stop interfering with his use and occupation of the property.
But Mutare Deputy Sheriff identified as Dzobo evicted Tembani from his farm known as the Remainder of Minverwag of Clare Estate Ranch, which he has occupied since 1983 to make way for Takawira Zembe who claims to have bought the farm from the local financial institution.
Tembani became one of Zimbabwe’s first black commercial farmers shortly after independence in 1980.
Zimbabwe claims it has withdrawn from the SADC tribunal so its decisions are not legal binding. However legal experts have said the tribunal judgements are legal binding as Zimbabwe is a full member of SADC.
Mugabe’s seizure of white commercial farms for blacks has drawn heavy criticism from Western countries, who say their aid won’t flow to help Zimbabwe’s economic recovery until the land grabs stop and political and economic reforms are implemented.
Mugabe, who has formed a power-sharing government with rival Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused his Western foes of sabotaging Zimbabwe’s economy through sanctions in retaliation for his land reforms, which critics say ruined the agriculture sector. He claimed the policy was meant to address historical land ownership imbalances. Radio VOP