President Robert Mugabe’s daughter, Bona, has reportedly grabbed a farm owned by a white commercial farmer in Goromonzi district, Mashonaland East province.
The farmer has been ordered to move out the property as new land invasions grip the country.
When VOA Studio 7 visited Divonia Farm near Juru Growth Point, popularly known as kwaBhora on Wednesday, several army and police officers, including members of the secret service, had sealed off the farm.
The evicted farmer only identified as Hunter was also seen loading his farming equipment into lorries with the help of his former laborers. Some tractors were driven to unidentified locations in Harare. The security details also barred Studio 7 from talking to anyone at Divonia Farm where the farmer was growing seed maize and wheat.
One of Hunter’s neighbors in the farming community, who refused to be identified, told Studio 7 the evicted farmer was phoned by a senior member of the military last week advising him that Bona would be moving into his property.
Hunter’s former workers said their future is now bleak following the eviction of their employer by the president’s daughter.
The grabbing of Divonia Farm by Bona on Wednesday comes at a time when a new wave of farm invasions is being reported in the countryside, especially in the Matabeleland region.
Deputy permanent secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Ray Ndlukula, has forcibly evicted David Conolly of Centenary Farm in Figtree, Matabeleland South province, despite a High Court order blocking him from taking over the farm.
Bona Mugabe’s take-over of the property means that the Mugabe family now has several farms as the president and his wife, Grace, allegedly displaced several white commercial farmers in Mazowe district when they took over some properties.
On the contrary, President Mugabe and a regional minister recently called for a moratorium on farm invasions.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change is on record saying most of the farms that were acquired under the land reform program were parceled out to mainly Zanu PF members, especially the top brass.
Studio 7 failed get a comment from bona while Land and Rural Resettlement Minister, Douglas Mombeshora, said he was not aware of what was going on at Divonia Farm.
Meanwhile, Commercial Farmers Union president, Charles Taffs, criticized the new wave of farm invasions and land grabs saying they violated people’s rights to property as enshrined in the constitution.
Taffs called for a change of government policy on land, saying the land grabs and invasions were having a ripple effect on the country’s economic growth potential.
Some economists blame the country’s poor economic performance on the land reforms that were embarked on by the Zanu PF government in 2000.
The agrarian reforms displaced thousands of white commercial farmers and their workers while most of the new settlers did not have the expertise and resources to produce effectively.