Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo has been sucked in yet another farm seizure storm as it emerged he allegedly grabbed a black-owned farm and gave it out to members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the Zimbabwe National Army.
The Zimbabwe Independent reports that Moyo, in 2016, grabbed Plot 12 and 16 Honey Bird Kop Farm owned by a black entrepreneur and settled two CIO operatives in 2017.
Four army personnel and three Lands ministry officials were also given pieces of land as a reward for rubber-stamping the take-over of the black-owned farm.
The allegations come when Moyo is accused of grabbing Kershelmar Farms Private Limited, better known as Esidakeni Farm, from Osisa executive director and international human rights lawyer Siphosami Malunga.
Moyo is also said to have allocated Esidakeni to senior intelligence and ruling party senior officials.
Honey Bird Kop Farm is owned by ex-Zipra combatant John Gazi, which makes it illegal for the government to seize land from a local black person, according to a previous High Court judgment.
In an interview this week, Gazi implicated Moyo as the brains behind his farm grab. Gazi, who has been on the property for the past 16 years, said:
Matabeleland North Minister of State Richard Moyo led the invasion of my farm in November 2015.
They settled CIOs and army people on my farm in 2016. Recently, they put more CIOs (June 2021) on the farm. They were allocated plot 12 and 16.
Moyo targeted it because it attracts more money as a land baron venture. Now it is overpopulated and is more like a residential stand than a farm.
Honey Bird Kop, which measures 1 046 hectares, has great potential for both game and cattle ranching. It has two dams and six boreholes.
The farm is located 40km north of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.
In a letter dated April 19, 2016, seen by the Independent this week, the former Zipra combatant was told that the provincial land committee “believes that you do not deserve land from a government which you wish to topple. Therefore, the provincial land committee recommends that you be removed from the list of beneficiaries at subdivision A of Honey Bird Kop Farm.
However, Moyo vehemently denied the accusations saying the farm was gazetted by the government in 2000. We don’t go around and take farms from other blacks. He added:
The problem is that people like Gazi are fronts of white people. He was a front of the white man we took the farm from. He was actually in my office two weeks ago.
He also said Gazi has the right to make a formal complaint with the Lands ministry in Harare if he has issues regarding the farm.
More: The Standard