Former Zanu-PF brass set to lose seized farms
Mugabe's assets also up for grabs as new president gets tough
The business empires of former Zanu-PF leading lights aligned to the so-called G40 rebel faction are crumbling, with threats of their farms and businesses being seized by the Zimbabwean government.
Former higher education minister Jonathan Moyo, former public works minister Saviour Kasukuwere, and Kudzai Chipanga, a former Zanu-PF youth leader, could soon lose their farms.
The looming seizure of Moyo and Kasukuwere's farms comes in the wake of the riot act being read recently by the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to former president Robert Mugabe. He was told to choose only one farm to keep out of the 21 that he owns.
Former first lady Grace Mugabe has failed to pay the terminal benefits of 106 former workers on her Gwina farm, instead offering to pay them with rice. A meeting between Grace and her workers last month, attended by Robert Mugabe, ended in a stalemate.
Her core business, Alpha Omega Dairy, is still operational. Its flagship products - ice- cream and fresh milk - are still popular.Moyo and Kasukuwere are in self-imposed exile following the fall of Mugabe in a military coup in November last year. They are reportedly resident in Kenya.
Kasukuwere was in Pretoria at the Protea Fire & Ice Hotel a fortnight ago. He confirmed to the Sunday Times that he had been there.
Kasukuwere is known to have business interests in petroleum under the ComOil brand in Zimbabwe. Asked if he was aware of moves to seize his farm, Kasukuwere said, "Yes, that's what we are hearing."
In December last year, the new regime under Mnangagwa ordered that the bank accounts of Kasukuwere and Moyo be frozen.
A source familiar with the plans to seize the pair's farms said this week that Moyo's 250ha Patterson farm in Mazowe was "being closely monitored" and Kasukuwere "will also lose his".
"But the complication is in taking away what the former president [Mugabe] has, because it will send a message of vengeance. It's a tough card to play because it could go against Zanu-PF," the source said.Manicaland provincial affairs minister Monica Mutsvangwa confirmed she had been tasked with repossessing Chipanga's Wakefield farm in Headlands.
There are plans to transform the farm into a campus.
"There is no activity at the farm and that land is earmarked for the construction of a university," she said.
Legal and economic experts, however, are sceptical over how successful the new administration will be in seizing the funds and properties. Only about $250-million (R2.9-billion) had been returned to the country by the deadline this month - out of $1.3-billion siphoned out in illegal foreign transfers.
Former finance minister Tendai Biti expressed misgivings at the entire process of repatriation of externalised funds.
There was no transparency in the way the repatriation of funds was being dealt with because "they are trying to cleanse themselves in the process", said Biti.
Other key figures of the G40 faction are living quiet lives.
Sarah Mahoka - who gained notoriety last year at the height of factional fights in Zanu-PF by calling on Mnangagwa to openly declare his interest in succeeding Mugabe - has been keeping to herself.
Mahoka was fired from Zanu-PF earlier this year over links to the G40 faction.
"I am enjoying my new life at the farm and since January, when I came here, I have been at home, only travelling when there is a funeral for close relatives. I have no reasons to move around as a politician,'' Mahoka said.
"I was a communal farmer before I was allocated a farm at Munandi in 2006, so it is back to farming business and less politics." - Additional reporting by Nhau Mangirazi..