Home » General » Ex-Minister’s Ally Evicted

A white commercial farmer believed to be a close associate of former zanu-pf secretary for Administration Mr Didymus Mutasa has been kicked out of a Rusape farm. Allegations are that during his tenure as Minister of National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the President’s Office, Mr Mutasa protected commercial farmers whose farms indigenous farmers wanted earmarked for land redistribution.

These include Mr Jasc Bakker who farms on the outskirts of Rusape town.

Mr Bakker was served with eviction papers a fortnight ago to pave way for the Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga and another beneficiary.

So close was Mr Bakker to Mr Mutasa that they engaged in a number of business transactions that include the disposal by the former zanu-pf politician of heavy duty grinding mills to the commercial farmer a few years ago.

They also traded in livestock.

In an interview with The Herald last week, Mr Bakker confirmed he had dealt with Mr Mutasa on a number of occasions, but was quick to rubbish claims the politician protected him against eviction during the land reform exercise.

He also confirmed receiving a cancellation letter giving him 90 days to vacate Calvin Farm.

“I was close to Mutasa like everyone else. Mutasa represented everyone in the constituency and I had no problems with him,” said Mr Bakker.

“In 1991, I realised we were going to have hunger. I knew Mutasa had mills for milling mealie meal. I asked him if he would sell me the mills and he agreed and I bought them. He gave me a letter that allowed me to buy maize from the Grain Marketing Board. I fed people throughout that period. This was the sought of association I had with him.”

Mr Bakker later admitted they were close friends with Mr Mutasa.

“I am friends with him. He treated me very well. He helped us tremendously. I applied for an offer letter in 2006 and I got it. I had no problems getting it,” he said.

Further revealed Mr Bakker: “He also bought some sheep and goats from me.”

Mr Bakker had 1 380 hectares that were later reduced to 1 040 before he was served with an eviction letter by the ministyry of lands recently.

He is a tobacco farmer and had given the farm to his son in law Gary Grose as he is too old to farm.

“The secretary (Gudyanga) gave us 90 days, negotiable, to vacate the premises. We appreciate that. We can get the crop off,” he said.

Another commercial farmer, Mr John Stanger also had his farm size significantly reduced recently.

He is a dairy farmer on the outskirts of Rusape town and claims to produce 110 000 litres of milk monthly which he sells to Dairiboard Zimbabwe Limited.

“I had 1 400 hectares of land. I am left with 800 hectares of which 420 are arable. If the gentleman comes, he is taking 388 hectares of the 800. He is a professor based in South Africa. I had a phone call from the Ministry of Lands and they introduced me to the new beneficiary,” said Mr Stanger.

The beneficiary was only identified as a Professor Mwove from Buhera but is working in South Africa at the moment.

He denied having any links with Mr Mutasa saying he had not been evicted from his farm all along because he is a dairy farmer.

Government policy protects dairy farmers.

“I am a dairy farmer and that is all. My grandparents came here in 1930 and I am the third generation,” Mr Stanger said.

He revealed that the majority of commercial farmers in Manicaland did not have title deeds or offer letters.

“In general, commercial farmers in Manicaland have not been given offer letters even dairy farmers. Why we have not been given, I cannot say,” said Mr Stanger.

Sources claim Mr Mutasa deliberately did not give commercial farmers documentation for them to pay homage to him materially.

Mr Stanger is chairperson of the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers for Mutare region.

On yet another farm on the outskirts of Rusape is Mr Golden Taylor.

The Herald is reliably informed that in 2010 Mr Mutasa used his political muscle to force Mr Taylor to enter into a joint venture agreement with a woman identified as Ms Christine Chirembwe on a 50 percent basis.

She and Mr Taylor then formed a company, Mona Agro Private Limited.

Ms Chirembwe immediately moved onto the farm house and relegated Mr Taylor to the servants’ quarters.

There is nothing happening on her farm and Mr Taylor feeds Ms Chirembwe and her employees.

“She said she cannot engage in farming because there are lots of baboons here,” said one of Ms Chirembwe’s employees.

Interestingly, Mr Taylor is farming.

Mr Taylor was tight lipped when asked about the nature of his relationship with Mr Mutasa but confirmed that he was in a joint venture with Ms Chirembwe.

He confirmed it was not a voluntary joint partnership but referred further questions to Ms Chirembwe.

“I do not want to talk to the media. The last time it was reported that I pay Mutasa $1 500 every month. Go and talk to Ms Chirembwe,” he said.

Ms Chirembwe was said to be in Harare when The Herald visited part of her farm.

Efforts to reach Ms Chirembwe and Mr Mutasa over the phone have been fruitless since last week.

Their mobile phones were unreachable.

Source : The Herald