Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
Zimbabwe People First Leader Dr Joice Mujuru has been accused of hypocrisy and insincerity for prioritising payment of compensation to a white former commercial farmer ahead of blacks who lost their land at the hands of her late husband Retired-General Solomon Mujuru. Businessman Mr Tawanda Nyambirai has in the past dragged the Mujurus to court for pushing him out of his three farms in Mashonaland East Province.
His remarks follow a meeting held by Dr Mujuru in London last week where he met former owner of her Alamein Farm, also known as Ruzambo Farm, Mr Guy Watson-Smith and offered to privately compensate him for all infrastructural improvements made at the property in Beatrice.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Nyambirai said he found it strange that Dr Mujuru would prefer to compensate white former farmers instead of indigenous people that were unlawfully dispossessed of land by her late husband.
Mr Nyambirai accused Dr Mujuru and her husband of abusing their offices as then senior Government officials to grab farms belonging to indigenous people like himself, something he said was not consistent with the Constitution and Government policy.
“I am not against the principle of compensation because it is provided for in the Constitution. What I find strange is that they took farms belonging to black people like me but find it prudent to compensate a white (former) farmer whom they took land from. To me that is insincere on her part,” said Mr Nyambirai.
“She is being insincere. For someone who participated in taking farms from whites and now suddenly wants to pretend to be clean and offer compensation when she deprived black people by unlawfully taking their farms and giving them to their relatives. That’s hypocritical.”
Mr Nyambirai said the timing of Dr Mujuru to engage the white farmer and offer compensation raised eyebrows.
“I am not a politician and would not want to discuss the politics around it. But as someone who suffered at the hands of the late General who took my farms and gave them to his relatives, I find it awkward. The question that arises is why now when she no longer wields the power that she had when she took land from those people including myself,” said Mr Nyambirai.
The businessman said he had since approached the Supreme Court appealing against High Court judge, Justice Priscilla Chigumba’s decision dismissing his application to retain the farms after he took the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Rural Resettlement to court.
Mr Nyambirai said the decision to compensate the white former farmer would create a precedence where people who were prejudiced by the former VP might come seeking compensation as well.
One of them, he said, who might consider doing the same is Econet Wireless founder Mr Strive Masiyiwa who lost potential revenue after Dr Mujuru denied him a mobile service licence when she was Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, until the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo intervened.
In papers filed in court, Mr Nyambirai said his family and employees were subjected to intimidation and torture at the instigation of the Mujurus who wanted to push him out of the properties.
Mr Nyambirai was the Chairman of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited for eight years until December 2012. Mr Nyambirai said he owns three farms — Kopje Alleen, The Beach and Rusfontein — through his companies Naval Phase Farming (Pvt) Ltd and Beach Farms (Pvt) Ltd.
He said that he was dispossessed of his farms in February 2002 while his brothers and employees were “terrorised, tortured and kidnapped”. He was granted a provisional order by the High Court on February 10, 2002, to reclaim the land but failed to serve them with the order as his lawyers were intimidated and chased away together with police details from Feartherstone Police Station where he had sought assistance.
The late Gen Mujuru, said Mr Nyambirai in his court papers, called him to his offices where he verbally abused him saying he was fronting for white people despite showing him ownership documents including copies of mortgage bonds.