Former central bank governor, Gideon Gono, claims that top government officials, judges, ministers of religion, parliamentarians, Zanu PF supporters and others, who benefited under the 2006 Farm Mechanization Program, are not expected to pay for tractors, combine harvesters and several implements acquired under the Reserve Bank’s quasi-fiscal activities.
Gono told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that the beneficiaries, who include President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the late former president Robert Mugabe, the late former vice presidents Joseph Msika, several top government officials and others obtained the equipment to kick-start the land reform program, which was spearheaded by the ruling party.
He said the government of then president Robert Mugabe ordered the central bank to parcel out farming equipment to mostly Zanu PF members and sympathizers under several statutory instruments.
He is quoted by the newspaper as saying, “… No beneficiary of the farm mechanisation programme ever refused to pay for the equipment that they got and neither were they asked to pay.”
A Zimbabwean living in the United Kingdom, Kent University lecturer Alex Magaisa, released a list of names of the farm mechanization program, which has not been published elsewhere, in his blog, the Big Saturday Read.
Gono claimed that Magaisa got it all wrong and was expected to contact him before releasing the list of the beneficiaries. Magaisa insists that he got it right.
Some beneficiaries are demanding accountability saying they have already paid for the farming equipment.
Former Zanu PF regional stalwart, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, told VOA he paid for the equipment sourced from the central bank under the Farm Mechanization Program.
On tweeter, he said, ‘Those who are saying Farm Mechanisation was for Free, are telling blatant lies. I paid 10bn for mine, which was worked out as the usd equivalent then. Everyone has to pay. CORRUPTION has to be exposed. THANK YOU ALEX MAGAISA,BSR.”