The owner of a Goromonzi dairy farm at the centre of an ownership wrangle involving First Lady Grace Mugabe’s aide Deputy Police Commissioner Olga Bungu was heavily involved in the liberation struggle fighting in Zanu PF’s corner, it has emerged.
By Everson Mushava
According to documents seen by The Standard, Allan Munn was involved in all the negotiations leading up to the signing of the Lancaster House agreement that brought independence to Zimbabwe in 1980.
In a letter dated July 3 addressed to Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora, Munn’s wife, Gillian, who is now working together with her son Blaise Uglietti to run the farm, said her husband was once arrested by the Ian Smith regime for fighting for black independence.
She said Mashonganyika Farm, located a few kilometres outside Harare was bought by her husband in 1994.
“I remember distinctly being told by his Excellency the President [Robert Mugabe], that we were part of the family of the liberation struggle and therefore we had no worries about the farm,” reads part of the letter.
Mombeshora was not picking calls to clarify the issue, but Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Joe Biggie Matiza said the farm was gazetted for compulsory acquisition.
“What I know is that the farm was gazetted,” Matiza said.
Gillian had also approached Matiza for help to save the farm from invasion, but had received little help from the former Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister.
She is now desperately seeking to meet President Mugabe to implore him to intervene to stop her eviction from the farm.
In another document, a group of Zanu PF members signed a petition in 2002 pleading for Munn’s farm to be spared, citing his contribution to the attainment of majority rule.
“During the struggle, Munn supported us with his magazine and started the September Declaration, a powerful political pressure group supporting majority rule against Smith. Since 1994, when he bought his farm in Goromonzi, Mr Munn has supported us with donations, transport and cash,” reads part of the petition.
Munn owned a printing and publishing company, Munn Publications, which used to publish Price Magazine to prop up Mugabe and his Zanu PF during and after the liberation struggle.
He is now based in France, after divorcing with Gillian, but he, through a High Court order, gave all the rights to the farm to his former wife, who is now battling eviction by Bungu.
Munn, according to the petition, assisted in the construction of Zanu PF Goromonzi offices.
In another letter to Mugabe, Gillian said she had been working well with the black community around Goromonzi until in May when an official from the Lands ministry visited her to tell her to wind up operations and give way to Bungu to occupy it.
“For all these reasons, we are humbly seeking His Excellency’s intervention to save our dairy farm. This is my sole livelihood,” Gillian said.
Gillian is also fighting her eviction in the courts and the matter will be heard on September 8.
She alleges that police officers are harassing her and attempting to force her to sign a letter to surrender her farm to Bungu.
“Through my investigation, I have discovered that Mai [Mrs] Bungu has a farm in Marondera already and a pig project in Macheke,” Gillian said in her letter to Mugabe.
Munn’s 209-hectare farm, registered in 2002, produces nearly 10 000 litres of milk per month, grows about 110 hectares of maize and employs over 100 workers.
She also runs a piggery and poultry project and produces export peas.
Munn’s dairy licence was cancelled on August 7 through a letter signed by one TC Marecha, representing the Department of Livestock Production and Development in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Part of the letter reads: “In light of the fact that you failed to notify the chief dairy officer of such change of ownership, we are therefore cancelling the certificate that was issued to you on 1 September 2014.”