Zim­babwe vice pres­i­dent's wife 'takes over state-run farm'

Swazi Observer - - NEWS -

HARARE - The wife of Zim­babwe’s Vice Pres­i­dent Con­stantino Chi­wenga has taken over a farm run by a state agri­cul­tural agency, a news­pa­per claimed.

The Zim­babwe In­de­pen­dent re­ports that the 300-hectare seed farm run by the Agri­cul­tural and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (ARDA) is be­ing guarded by men with au­to­matic weapons and that work­ers are erect­ing a new fence around the prop­erty.

"ARDA Seeds is no longer here; this is now the vice pres­i­dent's prop­erty," one of the armed men was quoted as telling the pa­per.

For­mer pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe’s con­tro­ver­sial land re­form pro­gramme, which was launched in 2000, sparked a lon­grun­ning eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal cri­sis. This takeover, if con­firmed, will bring back mem­o­ries of that, though this is not a white-owned farm. The farm is on the north­east­ern out­skirts of Harare. It is un­der­stood to have pro­duced seed for crops like pota­toes, sun­flow­ers, wheat and sorghum.

The vice pres­i­dent’s wife Mary made no com­ment on the al­leged takeover, re­fer­ring the pa­per to the agri­cul­ture min­istry.

In De­cem­ber Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Per­rance Shiri, the for­mer air force chief who was pro­moted into Cabi­net af­ter Mu­gabe’s ouster last year, or­dered an end to farm takeovers in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the state-run Chron­i­cle news­pa­per. "We need to­tal sta­bil­ity on the farms and to that ef­fect we shall en­sure that farm oc­cu­pa­tions will not be tol­er­ated any­more," he said then.

WIFE IN CHARGE: Zim­babwe’s Vice Pres­i­dent Con­stantino Chi­wenga.

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