The Zimbabwean cabinet is expected next week to discuss the mounting number of property invasions nationwide which many fear will derail economic recovery.
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said many in the government were concerned at threats by Patrick Zhuwao, nephew of President Robert Mugabe, to defy Vice President Joice Mujuru, who recently forbade the seizure of tourist operations at Lake Chivero, 30 kilometers west of Harare. The cabinet is expected to resume sitting next week.
The Daily News reported on Tuesday that Zhuwao’s statement that his followers would again seize leisure facilities including a popular lakeshore aviary ruffled feathers in ZANU-PF, Mr. Mugabe's party. It said the controversy revived memories of the late Vice President Joseph Msika’s futile war with activists who seized Kondozi Estate.
Zhuwao said “remnants of racists in most of the clubs” around Lake Chivero perpetuate social injustices. The Daily News quoted Zhuwao as saying he would “never allow any form of perceived white superiority in any part of this constituency.”
VOA was unable to reach Zhuwao for comment on the situation.
Resorts targeted include the Jacana Yacht Club and the Harare Safari Lodge owned by Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Rainbow Tourism Group.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Sandra Nyaira that such takeovers arose from the election fever within ZANU-PF which is pushing indigenization.
Deputy spokeswoman Thabitha Khumalo of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai confirmed threats by ZANU-PF elements to invade tourist venues at Lake Chivero. Khumalo told Brenda Moyo that even though the MDC is part of the government, its ability to halt such invasions is limited.
In eastern Manicaland province, meanwhile, sources said ZANU-PF supporters led by Lands Officer Collen Mugai, Brian Mushowe, son of Manicaland Governor Christopher Mushowe and Onismo Makwengura on Monday invaded Geluk farm in Nyazura.
The farm, owned by South Africans Janse and Antoinette Grobler, is currently under a tobacco crop almost ready to be harvested. Grobler and his son Paul tried to resist the invasion but were arrested late Monday on charges of attempted murder.
Sources said they were being held at Nyazura Police Station.
Antoinette Grobler told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the invasion came despite the farm owners having willingly subdivided their farm and a case pending in the Supreme Court challenging previous invasions of the property.