BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Zanu PF youths in Manicaland province are plotting to invade farms belonging to the ruling party’s secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa and former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, it has emerged.
The youths from Headlands and Makoni Central constituencies claim Mutasa and Chinamasa’s farms are oversized and underutilised.
Mutasa, whose farm is in Makoni, was Manicaland provincial godfather in Zanu PF politics before he was expelled from the party by the late former president Robert Mugabe for supporting then vice-president Joice Mujuru in 2015.
In Headlands the youths say they are targeting farms belonging to Chinamasa and former Agriculture minister Joseph Made.
Made was sidelined from the ruling party in 2017 following Mugabe’s ouster by the military.
Chinamasa owns Tsukami Farm while Made has Tara Farm and they are neighbours.
At Made’s farm there is no production to talk about while at Chinamasa’s farm there is 40 hectares of tobacco.
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Made used to grow maize and cabbages at his farm before he was involved in a dispute with his workers over salaries, a villager told this publication.
Headlands MP Christopher Chingosho told this publication that Zanu PF youths wanted to hold demonstrations against the trio.
Chingosho said he stopped the youths from protesting to give the authorities time to address their grievances.
“I can confirm the youths here in Headlands almost two weeks ago wanted to demonstrate over the issue of allocation of land to the youths, but I told them that we need to approach the Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Nokuthula Matsikenyeri over the matter and we have since done that,” he said.
“The reason I stopped them is that I don’t want to put Headlands in the headlines, but this time I won’t stop them if their concerns are not addressed.
“I am behind the youths, they need to benefit from the land.
“How can we have one person owning 3 000 hectares or 1 000 hectares of land?
“When it comes to land issues, the youths in Headlands are the most affected group of all the people.
“We are not saying only youths should get land, but they are the most disadvantaged.”
A Zanu PF youth leader in the province said they were ready to invade the targeted farms.
“Here in Headlands, we have hard-core Zanu PF supporters, there is no opposition to talk about,” said the official.
“Comrade Patrick Chinamasa is aware of the people he is dealing with.
“We as youths we are ready to demonstrate and invade part of the land which is underutilised.”
Innocent Mugutakuwona, a Zanu PF Manicaland provincial youth league member based in Headlands, said he had been lobbying for downsizing of the farms for a long time.
“We lobbied for a land audit but personally, I am yet to get the full results,” Mugutakuwona said.
“We have applied for land, but it seems only those in senior positions are getting the land.
“This is not proper. We want justice to prevail, law should apply equally to all citizens.”
Taurai Zimuto, a youth in Headlands, applauded Chingosho for backing them.
“Yes, Honourable Chingosho is standing with us and is doing everything he can to assist us on the issue of the land and we are going to demonstrate and invade those farms if our issues are not addressed,” he said.
Zanu PF Headlands district coordinating committee secretary for youth affairs Laiton Limbo said they were engaging relevant authorities over the matter.
“We are very serious about the land issue, we are engaging the party leadership over the matter, we are pushing very hard. If it means to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa, we are ready,” Limbo said.
Made, however, dismissed the youths’ claims that his farm is over 1 000 hectares.
“I am hearing it from you for the first time that my farm is 1 000 hectares,” he said.
“If then there is someone, who is using others to fight us, is it fair?
“On the issue of land, there are proper authorities, who should be able to deal with such issues.
“On the issue of demonstrations, especially if it’s coming from a provincial member, is it proper?
“I don’t know, but as a party we are busy preparing for the 2023 elections, that is what I can say.”
Chinamasa was not responding to calls yesterday.
Zanu PF has been accused of using farms repossessed from white Zimbabweans to perpetuate its patronage system.