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Government to takeover Hope Fountain Mission Farm

by Bakidzanani Dube
16 Sep 2017 at 18:19hrs | Views
Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr Obert Mpofu has said the government will acquire Hope Fountain Mission Farm and gazette it for resettlement, a declaration that was received with fear, panic and resentment by the local people in Hope Fountain Village.

Speaking on Friday at Tennyson Hlabangana High School during a ceremony to commemorate the completion of the renovations of a 3km strip of Hope Fountain Road that stretches from Waterford Suburb in Bulawayo leading to the mission farm and school, Dr Mpofu said the government will soon be taking over the farm for resettlement.

"As part of its resettlement program, the government of Zimbabwe will gazette this (Hope Fountain Mission Farm) and other related farms for resettlement because they are lying idle and underutilized," Dr. Mpofu said.

Established by the London Mission Society (LMS) on the 16th of November 1870 with permission from King Lobengula and described in 1896 by Frank Sykes as "the prettiest spot in the neighbourhood of Bulawayo…with a perpetual stream of clear water running between the hills, wooded slopes and grassy slopes, where no more pleasant site for a residence could well be imagined", Hope Fountain Mission is the second oldest mission in Zimbabwe after Inyati Mission.

The mission where President Robert Mugabe once taught between 1945 and 1948, is located 16km South-East of Bulawayo and lies within Dr. Mpofu's Umguza District. Together with its mission school, Tennyson Hlabangana High, monumental cemetery and goldfields, the mission farm today is owned by the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) (formerly LMS).

Moving on, Dr. Mpofu's declaration was not well received by the local villagers who criticized the government for wanting to distort the heritage of the village.

"Dr. Mpofu's move is reminiscent of the persecution of the church by Saul as quoted in the Book of Acts in the Bible. These politicians should learn to understand the difference between politics and the values of the citizenry," said a villager who declined to be named for fear of victimization.

In an interview, another clearly shocked villager who chose to be called Ncube said: "If these people want to help us, they should just do so without any ulterior motives behind their generosity. Vele ngivele ngasolela ukuthi lokhu akusoze kuphethe kodwa ngoba legrid seligqitshelwe. UMphoko laye ulethe iSabatha yakhe lapha kodwa esazi mhlophe ukuthi umhlaba lo ngoweMission (translated to: I actually suspected that the move will not just end at renovations because even the grid has been eliminated. Even VP Mphoko brought his Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church here knowing well that this is UCCSA mission land)".

In another similar incident in 2015 which caused alarm and left many wondering as to what the motivess of the government were towards mission related churches, the government made a move to gazette Cyrene High School Mission Farm.

Meanwhile, UCCSA authorities have not yet issued any statement on the matter at the moment.

Source - Bakidzanani Dube