Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora has cleared the air on the controversial allocation of a farm on the outskirts of Masvingo city to zanu-pf provincial chairman Cde Ezra Chadzamira saying his decision was aboveboard.
Dr Mombeshora issued an offer letter to Cde Chadzamira to take over the 121-hectare Cresta Ibeka Farm about 10km west of Masvingo city that was formally owned by a white widow Ms Yvonne Goddard.
The development sparked murmurs of disapproval with some villagers living around the farm saying Ms Goddard was supposed to remain at Cresta Ibeka as she was reportedly helping them to breed hybrid cattle.
War veterans were also sucked in the matter as some of them were opposed to Cde Chadzamira’s take over of the farm, arguing that it was of strategic economic importance to Masvingo.
However, Dr Mombeshora last week said procedure was followed in the allocation of Cresta Ibeka farm to Cde Chadzamira.
He defended the issuing of an offer letter to the zanu-pf provincial chairman saying the move was as a result of a recommendation from the Masvingo provincial lands committee.
“The fact that he (Cde Chadzamira) has an offer letter means that everything was done above board. The decision to allocate him the farm in question was made by the people of Masvingo. It is the provincial land committee that made that decision and I had to do what the people of Masvingo wanted,’’ he said.
“I cannot be in every place to see what will be happening on the ground but I am guided by what provincial land committees say. In this case, they recommended that the farm in question be allocated to Cde Chadzamira.
“ We do not look at names of people when giving land. We just make sure the right procedure was followed,’’ he added.
Dr Mombeshora said it was up to the people of Masvingo through the provincial land committee to decide the fate of Cresta Ibeka farm if they so wished to see new changes.
“There is no situation that cannot be corrected or changed. We can always change some things but it is the people of Masvingo who should tell us what they want through the provincial land committee,’’ he said.
Cresta Ibeka farm was one of the six farms in Masvingo that had reportedly been spared acquisition of resettlement purposes after it was initially designated as being of strategic economic importance to Masvingo Province.
However, cattle breeding operations at the farm together with dairy operations were on the verge of collapse owing to the sharp depletion of both the beef and dairy herd at Cresta Ibeka.
The provincial technical land committee in Masvingo visited the farm and found that Ms Goddard was now producing less than 20 litres of milk per day from her dairy operations leading to conclusions that she could not longer fully utilise the farm hence the recommendation for Cde Chadzamira to take it over.
Cde Chadzamira is on record saying that he would not stay a day longer at Cresat Ibeka if he failed to fully utilise the farm.