Rusape – Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has reportedly distanced itself from last week’s farm invasion that saw a white commercial farmer, Robert Smart, being evicted from his property outside Rusape.
Heavily armed Zimbabwean riot police besieged Lesbury Farm, about 26km west of Rusape, and forcefully removed him and his employees.
The tobacco and maize grower was evicted to reportedly pave way for a top cleric, Trevor Manhanga, who had links with President Robert Mugabe’s party.
According to News Day, Zanu-PF’s deputy party provincial chairperson in Manicaland, Joseph Mujati denied that Zanu-PF had a hand in the developments at Lesbury Farm.
Mujati said there were “no fresh farm invasions” in Zimbabwe.
“Land reform in Zimbabwe is a continuous process and what was witnessed at Lesbury Farm should not be seen as a fresh farm invasion, but the enforcement of a High Court order by the Sheriff of the High Court,” Mujati was quoted as saying.
He continued: “Zanu-PF had no hand whatsoever in the enforcement of the order. I, Joseph Mujati, the Zanu-PF vice-chairperson for Manicaland, can confirm I was not anywhere near Lesbury Farm neither was Zanu-PF represented in any capacity by anyone on this particular day.”
News24 reported this week that more than 150 farm workers had been rendered homeless following the violent eviction.
They appealed to Mugabe’s government to allow their former employer to return to the farm, saying working at Lesbury Estates was their only source of livelihood. -N24