Former president Robert Mugabe is reported to have been leasing out land that he seized from Interfesh Holdings’ Mazoe citrus estates. Mugabe and his wife, former first lady Grace Mugabe have been leasing out the land to businessman Hamish Rudland. This is a direct contradiction to what Mugabe himself always said at rallies where he attacked people who were accused of leasing land back to former white farmers arguing that they wanted to reverse the gains of the land reform programme.
The Mugabe family is reported to have seized 414 hectares of Interfresh’s land holdings, which translates to 39 percent of the arable land. Mugabe’s family and relatives are alleged to own 15 809 hectares of land across Zimbabwe. After failing to fully utilize the land, Mugabe is said to have invited Rudland to enter into a joint venture in farming. As part of the deal, Mugabe would get 5 percent of the turnover while Rudland would use the land.
Rudland confirmed the deal and told the weekly publication, The Zimbabwean Independent:
We were approached by the former president, through his people with a view to helping him run the estate after the success of our Glenara Estates.
I think he was impressed by what he had seen at Glenara and from where sit, we could not say no. Who could have said no to his request? But it is a purely commercial transaction on our part; nothing else. We were and we still are not involved in politics, in any way, as we are businesspeople or investors.
More: The Independent