Bennett's Former Farm Used For Illegal Activities
Chimanimani, – A former leading coffee farm in Zimbabwe, owned by Roy Bennett in Chimanimani, is now ground for illegal activities including, sell of opaque beer and gold panning.
Radio VOP has established that one of the cottages at the former farmhouse of Deputy Agriculture Minister designate and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) treasurer general, Bennett, currently facing terrorism charges, is now being used to sell traditional brewed beer by Solomon Mashingaidze, a war veteran, who invaded the property during the height of the land invasions in 2002.
Mashingaidze, sells traditional beer (seven days ) to fellow invaders who have abandoned farming and have resorted to gold panning in the farm.
The place popularly known as “kwaPachedu” has become popular with workers from surrounding farms and timber Estates and gold panners who frequent it especially during month ends and weekends.
Ironically Pachedu is Bennett’s nickname which he got from the local community for his friendly and harmonious working relationships with them.
“We are trying to keep our workers here motivated by selling them traditional beer at very cheap prices. Before we started brewing the beer workers were shunning us and preferring to work at nearby timber estates. I was given the permission to sell beer in this building by our local party leadership,” said Mashingaidze in an interview with Radio VOP.
Mashingaidze is also accused of exploiting farm workers by giving them traditional beer in exchange of labour at his plot.
Both the cottage and the farm house, which according to government policy is supposed to be communally used either as a school or clinic, is now in a dilapidated state. The farm house has been vandalised and stripped off things like water taps, bathing tubs and window panes.
All the coffee bushes at the farm have been destroyed and replaced by pockets of maize and rapoko fields.
Bennett, who is due in Court on November 09, is still fighting to get back his farm.