MANICALAND Governor Mandiitawepi Chimene has taken over Mona Agro Farm on the outskirts of Rusape town, an investment project linked to former Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
According to Newsday ,Mutasa’s former aide, Christine Murembwe, confirmed the development yesterday saying she jointly owned Mona Farm with one Leonard Taylor and were involved in wildlife, tobacco and maize production under a company known as Mona Agri Tourism Company (Private) Limited.
Mutasa is strongly believed to be the owner of the farm with Murembwe just acting as a front.
Murembwe served as Headlands constituency secretary during Mutasa’s era as MP. She said it was unfair for Chimene to drag her into her fights with Mutasa.
The latest invasion came after Chimene in February this year threatened to grab the farm accusing Mutasa of describing the Zanu PF land reform programme as a “monumental failure”.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mutasa said: “If she is doing that to Murembwe, then I will beg them to take every farm that I gave to other people including (Finance minister Patrick) Chimanasa because I was the one who gave him that farm.”
However, Chimene insisted that the farm now belongs to her and all that she was doing was above board and in accordance with the country’s laws.
“I am following the law and the law is straightforward. I don’t deal with Murembwe, but I deal with the law,” Chimene said.
Murembwe claimed she had obtained a court order that interdicts Chimene from grabbing the farm, adding the minister had disregarded the order.
“The minister came to my farm last Friday advising me that she was taking over. She said she had an offer letter but I haven’t seen that offer letter. She also came today (yesterday),” said Murembwe.
“She came in the company of government officials from the Lands department who said I should move out. I was given the farm on July 8 2008 and I entered into a partnership with Leonard Taylor whose father was our manager.
“Chimene is lying that the farm belongs to Mutasa. Mona Farm is mine and Mutasa has nothing to do with it. I am the owner. If she claims that I was given the farm by Mutasa, is she then implying that everyone who benefited from the land reform during Mutasa’s tenure as Lands minister should be evicted?
“I have a High Court order that interdicts them and I don’t know in what capacities they are coming to my farm yet none of them are a High Court sheriff,” she said.
Murembwe accused Chimene of conniving with Gordon Taylor, her farm manager, to take away the farm.
“From what I know Chimene has a farm in Mutasa that is called Sendekera Farm and she has no right to come to mine. Police said we should find a solution, but I don’t see how I must find a solution with someone trying to invade my farm,” she said.
Murembwe vowed not bow to pressure to leave the farm or to vacate the farmhouse to pave way for Chimene, saying such abuse of power must not be tolerated.
In May this year Chimene confirmed settling at Mona Farm in an interview with The Herald .
“I was allocated the farm by the lands committee. My farm in Mutasa was affected by urban expansion and is now in the Mutare City masterplan,” she said.
“Mutasa had left whites on the farm but in fact it was his farm and they had formed an agro-tourism joint venture. Murembwe was overseeing operations at the farm on behalf of Mutasa and was Mutasa’s constituency secretary as well.”
Chimene said only white commercial farmers involved in dairy farming and other “specialists fields” would not have their farms acquired for resettlement.