Shiri stops farm fights

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Sa­muel Kadun­gure Se­nior Re­porter

THE Min­is­ter of Lands, Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral Re­set­tle­ment, Chief Air Mar­shal (Re­tired) Per­ence Shiri, has moved in to stop land fights in Man­i­ca­land and warned that the fi­nal au­thor­ity to change own­er­ship or sta­tus solely rests with his min­istry.

Chief Air Mar­shal (Rtd) Shiri’s com­ments fol­low a push by Mem­ber of Na­tional Assem­bly for Head­lands Cde Christo­pher Chin­gosho to have sev­eral of­fer letters is­sued dur­ing the era of self-ex­iled ex-Min­is­ter of State for Man­i­ca­land Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs Mandi Chimene re­voked.

Cde Chin­gosho is tar­get­ing Les­bury Farm (al­lo­cated to Bishop Trevor Man­hanga, Mr David Nyakonda and Chief Tandi (Wil­liam Samhungu), Wense­ly­dale Train­ing Cen­tre, al­lo­cated to one Nya­muswa who stays in the United States of Amer­ica; Mhan­dara Farm owned by Cde Dakarai Ma­pu­ranga, Wake­field Farm owned by Mr Kudzi Chipanga; Kelvin Farm owned by Pro­fes­sor Francis Gudyanga and Mr Booker Chi­na­masa, and Fair­field Farm, al­lo­cated to Chief Makoni Co­gen Gwasira, among other prop­er­ties in Head­lands con­stituency.

Chief Mar­shal Shiri (Rtd) said the ma­noeu­vres do not de­pict pol­icy shift.

“He only can rec­om­mend, and not ef­fect change own­er­ship or sta­tus. We will wait for their rec­om­men­da­tions and take it from there. I can­not say much since the rec­om­men­da­tions have not been sub­mit­ted. We are wait­ing for the sub­mis­sions,” said Chief Air Mar­shal Shiri.

Cde Chin­gosho at­tacked Chimene for al­lo­cat­ing Wense­ly­dale Train­ing Cen­tre and Wake­field farms to in­di­vid­u­als, yet they were orig­i­nally set aside for agri­cul­ture train­ing in­sti­tu­tions.

“Top­ping the list of our griev­ances is Les­bury Farm, and my ar­gu­ment was that pref­er­ence should be given to the lo­cal peo­ple of Tandi be­cause it is the only farm ad­ja­cent to the Tandi Com­mu­nal Lands. It should be used to de­con­gest the ad­ja­cent com­mu­nal area. Dur­ing my cam­paign and takeover of Head­lands con­stituency from (Mr) Didy­mus Mu­tasa in 2014, peo­ple were promised the ac­qui­si­tion of Kelvin and Mhan­dara farms. I was shocked when Mandi Chimene al­lo­cated the whole Kelvin Farm to Pro­fes­sor Gudyanga and Booker Chi­na­masa from nowhere. I was not con­sulted.

“Mhan­dara Farm was ini­tially in­vaded by youths dur­ing the land re­form pro­gramme and they were re­moved on the prom­ise of or­derly plots al­lo­ca­tion. Again, the whole farm was given to one per­son, (Cde) Dakarai Ma­pu­ranga,” he said.

He be­moaned van­dal­ism of learn­ing struc­tures at Wense­ly­dale Train­ing Cen­tre and their con­ver­sion into livestock kraals and fowl runs.

“Mandi Chimene al­lo­cated it to some­body called Nya­muswa, who is based in Amer­ica. The build­ings have been con­verted into cat­tle kraals. You find cat­tle, goats and chick­ens in class­rooms. Can you imag­ine? The cen­tre must be re­vived, not the cur­rent non­sense,” said Cde Chin­gosho.

He also queried why Wake­field Farm was re-al­lo­cated when it was among three farms set aside for the Man­i­ca­land State Univer­sity of Ap­plied Sciences.

“These are the most con­tentious farms, and our rec­om­men­da­tion is that the of­fer letters should be with­drawn. This was the work of Chimene. She was do­ing this to fix me be­cause dur­ing my cam­paign we promised peo­ple all these farms. We al­most ex­changed blows in her of­fice af­ter I queried why she was treat­ing my con­stituency this way.”

Cde Ma­pu­ranga said Cde Chin­gosho should not use other peo­ple’s farms as cam­paign tools.

“Who is not a ben­e­fi­ciary of the land re­form among his team? They are just pol­i­tick­ing. The agenda is po­lit­i­cal. He should not cam­paign us­ing farms al­lo­cated to fel­low black farm­ers,” said Cde Ma­pu­ranga.

Act­ing Man­i­ca­land State Univer­sity Pro Vice-Chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Al­bert Chah­wanda said there was no progress on the es­tab­lish­ment of the Fac­ulty of Agri­cul­ture due to land wran­gles.

Prof Chah­wanda re­vealed that ini­tially that var­sity’s agri­cul­ture fac­ulty had been al­lo­cated 8 000 hectares, but most of it was given to re­set­tled farm­ers, leav­ing about 1 600 hectares at Haw­ick and Springs farms, which the in­sti­tu­tion is also fail­ing to ac­cess.

“Orig­i­nally, our of­fer let­ter had 8 000ha, but the bulky of it has been re­set­tled by farm­ers. We had a new of­fer let­ter in Au­gust 2017 giv­ing us au­thor­ity to oc­cupy Haw­ick and Springs farms, but the farmer, Mr F. C. Muller, whom we served with the 90-day no­tice, asked for an ex­ten­sion up to May 2018 to wind up his farm­ing op­er­a­tions,” said Prof Chah­wanda.

Prof Chah­wanda said the agri­cul­ture fac­ulty was five years be­hind.

“We should have moved on site in 2012, but there were these dis­putes which we want re­solved. The set­ting up of the fac­ulty is five years be­hind, and money to start agri­cul­tural op­er­a­tions is avail­able, and pro­ceeds from what we pro­duce will be in­vested in in­fra­struc­ture,” he said.

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