Former first lady Grace Mugabe’s Smithfield Farm in Mazowe farm was yesterday invaded by an estimated 400 illegal gold panners, called “makorokoza” in vernacular. The farm also houses the former first lady’s orphanage. Grace initially asked the panners to leave because they were on private property, but the defiant panners told the former first lady that she could not do anything to them before breaking into song and singing Jah Prayzah’s hit song “Kutonga Kwaro.” This forced the former president’s wife to lodge a police report at Mazowe Police Station.
Part of her police report reads:
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On the 29 march at around 1130 am I was touring my farm, Smithfield; when I arrived at Lemon Pool section, I was shocked to find a group of approximately 400 men illegally panning for gold.
I then asked them to stop their activities since I am the owner of the farm and I am the holder of a special grant for the whole area. However, the crowd, which was being led by one Nyazvigo, started to shout obscenities at me and continued with their unlawful activities.
The illegal activities have since destroyed my irrigation infrastructure which feeds the Lemon Pool section and there is massive land degradation.
The illegal activities also pose a threat to my children’s home as the illegal panners are also seen loitering inside the home at night. I then proceeded to Mazowe police station and made a report.
It is ironic that Grace is now turning to the police for help when in the past she disregarded court orders. Before her husband’s fall last year, Grace Mugabe was alleged to have grabbed Mazowe Dam for herself and barred villagers from using. The former first lady also forcibly evicted villagers from Manzou and Arnold Farms in Mazowe despite High Court orders barring her from doing so.
More: New Zimbabwe