MUTARE: A white commercial maize and tobacco farmer who was evicted from Makoni district in June this year to make way for Bishop Trevor Manhanga is set to resume production after the decision was reversed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new administration.
Robert Smart and his son Darryn were reportedly evicted from Lesbury Estate by Chimene to pave way for Bishop Manhanga who had close connections with then President Robert Mugabe.
Speaking at the Zanu PF Provincial Coordination Committee meeting, recently, Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri said Chimene was strategically appointed by Grace Mugabe to loot and parcel land to G40 close allies.
She warned that the party was going to reverse all the decisions made by Chimene administration.
Now special Adviser to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chris Mutsvangwa Tuesday said Smart and his son should not be disturbed in their farming activities.
He said their eviction was instigated by Chimene to sabotage then VP Mnangwana’s investor conference trip in South Africa.
“These two farmers, Robert and Darryn were victimized by Mandi Chimene. President Mnangagwa attended an investment conference to lure investors in June and Chimene sent some armed people to invade Smart farm so that the country could be portrayed as high-risk destination for investment.
“This was a ploy by Chimene to scare away the investors from the country. President Mnangagwa was clear that land reform is irreversible but insisted that it should not be racial.
These farmers are Zimbabweans and they belong to Manicaland province,” said Mutsvangwa, adding that the country now needs foreign direct investment to boost the economy.
He said where there was need for land distribution it must be conducted in a proper manner.
Smart, who attended the rally together with his son, told the gathering that armed men with AK 47 rifles attacked his farm workers and looted his produce while farm equipment worth $2 million was seized.
Mnangagwa, who took office recently, said the country`s economic turnaround would be anchored on high agricultural production and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Since government embarked on the land reform in 2000,yields, mainly for maize and tobacco plummeted due to lack of experience on the part of the new farmers.-Newzim