The Zimbabwean government is in the process of seizing a privately-owned farm belonging to three blacks, including Siphosami Malunga, the son of the late PF Zapu stalwart and national hero, Sydney Malunga.
In a tweet and Facebook post, Malunga said, “Today we received a call from Mr. Dodzi at the Lands Office in Bulawayo to tell us that the Zim Govt has acquired our privately owned farm & tomorrow they are coming peg it & give it to people they have allocated it to. This isn’t about land reform & we will fight it in every way.
“The farm is wholly privately owned by 3 black individuals and we only got to see the Gazette and acquisition notice issued on 18 December for the first time today after the Lands Officer gave us the number and told us to go to government printers.”
Siphosami, who is the son of Sydney Malunga, co-owns the farm with businessman, Charles Moyo, and Zephania Dlamini, a scientist working at the National University of Science and Technology.
Lands and Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka in a state gazette published in December last year noted that the farm is being acquired for under section 72(2) of the country’s constitution for purposes of agriculture resettlement.
Malunga, Masuka and Dodzi were unreachable for comment.
Responding to a message posted on Malunga's Twitter thread, presidential spokesperson George Charamba said, “Muchenjere kuitiswa nekungokambira zvamusingazivi kana zvamusina ruzivo rwakakwana nazvo!! You are not the acquiring authority; you are not the Malungas. Kungowawata nekuti Sipho avovora to a notice of intention to acquire the land?? What are the facts? Chitiudzai imi vanoziva.” (Be careful not to be used by attaching yourselves to something you don’t know or what you don’t have enough knowledge of!! You are not the acquiring authority; you are not the Malungas. Just making some noise because Sipho has howled to a notice of intention to acquire the land?? What are the facts? Tell us you who know.)
Some people who responded to Malunga’s tweet, blasted the government for attempting to seize the farm.
One of them, Thabisa Sibanda, said, “Ian Khama taught me never to write or say anything whilst angry. I will therefore wait a day or two before commenting on this very terrible political abuse of power.”
Another person who followed the tweet, Lashias Ncube, said, “Is there no end to the madness? 'Fixing' the farm owners for whatever sin, real or imagined. But at what cost? For a govt in desperate need of image rehabilitation, this act of vindictiveness is also an act of self sabotage. Talk about cutting off the nose to spite the face.”
Zimbabwean journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono, expressed dismay over the government’s move.
“This is really petty by Mnangagwa’s regime. It is an opportunity to expose the ridiculousness of this regime’s land reform program! This is crazy, you must be supported by all well meaning Zimbabweans”
Human rights activist and lawyer, Rashweat Mukundu, note that “they (Mnangagwa and his colleagues) have dragged this country down the gutter and will not stop at anything in this pettiness.”
Another human rights lawyer, Dewa Mavhunga, was also not pleased about the government’s move, saying, “this blatant injustice is beyond shocking, it must be fought at every level.”
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change’s Tendai Biti simply described the government’s action as “absolutely ridiculous. Sheer madness.”
Brian Kagoro described the land grab as political persecution under the guise of land reforms. “Compensate former White Commercial Farmers and Take land from Black Farmers that bought farms & are actually farming. Incomprehensible Pettiness and Vindictiveness.”
Zimbabwe seized over 4,500 farms belonging to white commercial farmers from 2000 and pledged to compensate them for the grabbed farms.