Mu­juru must give up Ruzambo Farm

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

FOR­MER Vice-Pres­i­dent Joice Mu­juru spoke last week at the Royal In­sti­tute of For­eign Af­fairs in Lon­don, Bri­tain. Out of her depth as ever she, on Thurs­day, de­liv­ered a pedes­trian speech at the think tank, also known as Chatham House, re­it­er­at­ing her crit­i­cisms of the in­di­geni­sa­tion drive and pledg­ing to re­view the land re­dis­tri­bu­tion pro­gramme. She has spo­ken against these two fun­da­men­tal na­tional pro­grammes be­fore, thus her re­peated at­tacks on them, in Lon­don at a Bri­tish­hosted event, was widely ex­pected.

How­ever, our sur­prise was her the­atrics the pre­vi­ous day when she met a man who used to oc­cupy Ruzambo Farm be­fore the Mu­ju­rus were al­lo­cated the Beatrice prop­erty dur­ing the land re­form and re­dis­tri­bu­tion pro­gramme.

Clearly seek­ing to play the “good girl,” and set­ting her­self apart from her for­mer party, Zanu-PF and its Gov­ern­ment, Dr Mu­juru promised to per­son­ally pay com­pen­sa­tion to Mr Guy Wat­son Smith for the farm. We have been watch­ing her since March 1 when she launched her party and it is our con­sid­ered view that she is try­ing too hard to please the West. Un­for­tu­nately for her, she ap­pears to have dug her­self into a hole on Wed­nes­day, a hole from which she will be un­able to lift her­self out.

Dr Mu­juru must know that any pol­i­tics in Zim­babwe that treats the land re­form and re­dis­tri­bu­tion pro­gramme as cheaply as she did in Lon­don is pol­i­tics of fail­ure. The com­mit­ment she made must rank as her big­gest blun­der since she joined op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics six months ago. To us, the im­age of her sit­ting there with Mr Smith and his son and shak­ing hands with them later on is as po­lit­i­cally sui­ci­dal as that of MDC-T leader, Mr Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai, smil­ing glee­fully as white farm­ers signed cheques to fund his party in the early 2000s.

She might have prob­lems with the ex­e­cu­tion of the land re­form pro­gramme but for some­one who per­son­ally went to war, fight­ing to lib­er­ate this land, to be now apologetic about ben­e­fit­ing from that rev­o­lu­tion­ary ex­er­cise is gross hypocrisy. We have no doubt that many Zim­bab­weans will not take her se­ri­ously for that. At the same time we re­ally won­der if even her in­ter­locu­tors Mr Smith and his son ac­tu­ally left that meet­ing feel­ing that they had not been taken for a ride by a shame­less hypocrite.

If Dr Mu­juru is re­ally com­mit­ted to com­pen­sat­ing Mr Smith, she should have done so by now. Equally im­por­tant, if she re­ally thinks that she ben­e­fited un­justly from the land re­form process, why does she not give up the farm im­me­di­ately, so that those who are not apologetic about in­dige­nous own­er­ship of land take it over?

With re­spect, Dr Mu­juru lacks the pro­fun­dity of un­der­stand­ing needed at that level and she played to the gallery on Wed­nes­day. In her mind, she thinks that pledg­ing to per­son­ally com­pen­sate Mr Smith en­dears her to white for­mer farm­ers and their West­ern kith and kin. She also thinks by speak­ing the way she did, she is com­mu­ni­cat­ing an en­tirely new mes­sage to the for­mer farm­ers. Yes, it is new in the sense that she promised to com­pen­sate the for­mer oc­cu­pant from her own pocket, but not in the broader sense.

Zanu-PF as a party and its Gov­ern­ment have al­ways stressed their com­mit­ment to com­pen­sat­ing white for­mer farm­ers. The con­sti­tu­tion also com­mits to that, but makes it clear that Zim­babwe will only com­pen­sate whites for im­prove­ments they made on the land, not for the land it­self. The re­spon­si­bil­ity to pay com­pen­sa­tion for the land rests with the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment which over­saw the dis­pos­ses­sion of in­dige­nous peo­ple of their land from 1890 to 1980.

While she com­mit­ted to per­son­ally com­pen­sate a white for­mer farmer now res­i­dent in far­away France, Dr Mu­juru has not done the same with re­gards to Mr Tawanda Nyam­bi­rai, an in­dige­nous Zim­bab­wean cit­i­zen whose prop­er­ties she and her late hus­band seized in con­tra­ven­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion that says in­dige­nous-owned farms can­not be ac­quired for re­set­tle­ment.

Dr Mu­juru and her hus­band, Gen­eral Solomon Mu­juru, used their of­fices to grab three farms Kopje Alleen, The Beach and Rus­fontein from Mr Nyam­bi­rai in 2002. Al­though he was granted a pro­vi­sional or­der by the High Court on Fe­bru­ary 10, 2002, to re­claim his land he failed to serve the then pow­er­ful Mu­ju­rus with the or­der as his lawyers were in­tim­i­dated and chased away to­gether with po­lice de­tails from Feather­stone Po­lice Sta­tion where he had sought as­sis­tance.

Be­cause Mr Nyam­bi­rai is black, Dr Mu­juru is im­ply­ing, his prop­erty can be taken with no re­grets. Mr Smith’s, a white per­son, can­not be taken and if it is, the new owner must feel bad about it.

Mr Nyam­bi­rai said he found it strange that Dr Mu­juru would pre­fer to com­pen­sate white farm­ers in­stead of in­dige­nous peo­ple that were un­law­fully dis­pos­sessed of land by her late hus­band.

“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 farmer whom they took land from. To me that is in­sin­cere on her part,” he said.

“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 her rel­a­tives. That’s hyp­o­crit­i­cal. 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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.