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Mukupe land grab stopped

by Staff reporter
03 Aug 2019 at 09:51hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has come to the rescue of about 600 farmers at Mt Olympus in Goromonzi who were being threatened with eviction by former Finance deputy minister Terence Mukupe to pave way for residential developments.

The farmers, more than half of whom have government-issued offer letters, have been living at the farm since 2000 until this year when Mukupe, through his company Farmtel Investments, claimed that he was offered the same piece of land by the Local Government ministry then led by Saviour Kasukuwere.

On Thursday, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Aplonia Munzverengi, who was accompanied by top officials from the Lands ministry visited the farmers and assured them that they would be spared eviction while authorities try to find a lasting solution to the impasse.

Munzverengi said the land in question falls under Mashonaland East province and that those seeking to allocate residential stands should look somewhere else for land.

"I came here to talk to you after learning of all the problems you are facing. This land falls under Mashonaland East; you have offer letters, meaning that you belong here. We looked into the matter and we are still on the table with relevant authorities for a permanent solution. However, you belong here and continue with your activities here. Do we have to turn each piece of land into residential stands? They should look elsewhere not here," she said.

Mt Olympus Farm, also known as KwaProton, has a total hectarage of 5 700 hectares with more than 250 resettled farmers yet to get their offer letters.

Recently, Mukupe who had visited the farmers to distribute eviction notice, reportedly left in a huff as the angry farmers drove him off the farm.

The farmers' spokesperson, one Musungo, said Mukupe had become a problem, threatening to take over the land despite most of the farmers being productive.

"We have been farming on this land since 2000 until this year when some land barons came to disturb our peace by claiming that the land is theirs. We have more than 324 farmers who were given offer letters in 2010 by the responsible ministry. This has been our home and we have been very productive. We participated in command agriculture and we did well among other projects," he said.

Most of the farmers are currently on the command poultry programme that was launched by the local legislator Ozias Bvute last year.

According to government documents, in 2016 Mukupe's company, Farmtel Investments was given 100ha in Chishawasha B, with other companies reportedly belonging to government heavyweights like Nettfields Investments (Pvt) Ltd and Mahlaba (Pvt) Ltd and Elephant Trust also getting pieces of the farm which lies along Arcturus Road.

Former Zanu-PF youth league boss Kudzanayi Chipanga was also one of the beneficiaries.

Source - newsday