The officials were reportedly led by Masvingo governor, Titus Maluleke and included Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Stan Mudenge, former governor, Josiah Hungwe, Chiredzi South legislator, Aaron Baloyi and former Member of Parliament, Enock Porusingazi.
Army boss, Engelbert Rugeje, a Parks and Wildlife Management Authority official, Vitalis Chadenga and former legislator Shuvai Mahofa were fingered by whistleblower website, WikiLeaks, as being part of the land grab.
The Zanu PF officials are reported to have imposed themselves as indigenous partners of land owners in the Save Valley Conservancy (SVC).
Maluleke is reported to have told people owning land in the conservancy that they should hand in their title deeds and instead, be issued with 25-year leases, while at the same time ceding part of their land holdings to the new partners.
The SVC raised concern that despite claiming that they wanted to be indigenous partners, the Zanu PF officials would not be buying any shareholding, but rather would be grabbing the land for free.
In one instance, George Hulme, a manager on one of the farms, was reportedly summoned to a meeting and told that Maluleke and Lieutenant Colonel David Moyo were the new partners and this was irreversible.
“In the meeting, the governor explained to Hulme that the inclusive government had agreed that the land reform process would not be reversed and said he was carrying out a policy that could not be reversed,” reads the leaked cable.
“In all, 10 of the 22 properties have been allocated new partners through this programme.” The property holders were reportedly looking for their own partners, either with the community or the Parks and Wildlife Authority, but in contravention of environmental and tourism laws, the politicians imposed themselves.
This is not the first time the issue of the SVC invasion has been mentioned, with the German embassy earlier this year raising concern that the area had been invaded in violation of bilateral agreements between Zimbabwe and the European nation.
The Zanu PF officials are reported to have come up with the “Masvingo Initiative” which was spearheaded by Maluleke, with the intention of grabbing land.
Youth Development, Empowerment and Indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwure is reported to have held a meeting in Masvingo, where he threatened to drive all the animals on the conservancies into Gonarezhou National Park and threatened to braai whatever remained behind, if the SVC did not adhere to indigenisation laws.
“It should be noted that the concept of partnership as advocated by the Masvingo Initiative does not seem to be based on normal business considerations,” the German embassy said.
“The members of the initiative have made it quite clear that they want partnership without paying for it.”
The named Zanu PF officials could not be reached for comment.