ZANU PF’s former Masvingo provincial commissar and Bikita South MP Jeppy Jaboon has approached the court challenging the seizure of his 17-hectare farm in Hippo Valley, Chiredzi, by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son, Kudakwashe.
BY Garikai Mafirakureva
Jaboon, who has since defected to the opposition MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa, said there was no justification for the takeover of his farm.
He becomes the latest former G40 member to lose a property to Mnangagwa’s loyalists and family members after several ex-Cabinet ministers who served under the late former President Robert Mugabe recently had their properties seized in a new wave of farm invasions.
“I was allocated my farm five years ago, but a war veteran, Romeo Bande, immediately occupied my land,” Jaboon said.
“I later managed to get my offer letter, but before I began farming, I received a letter of cancellation of my offer from the Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri,” Jaboon said.
“Kudakwashe immediately called to tell me that he is now the new owner. If what they did was legal, why then did he phone me? I have already taken the matter to court in a bid to seek redress.”
However, Kudakwashe claimed he was allocated the farm after Jaboon abandoned it saying it was too small. He claimed his occupation of the land was legal and above board.
“Yes, I can confirm that the farm I was allocated was originally allocated to Jeppy Jaboon, but it is reported he refused to take it up because he was saying it was too small,” he said.
“I was told he refused to accept the farm, arguing that as a powerful Zanu PF member in Masvingo, he could not be allocated such a small farm. He even refused to take the offer letter. He was the party’s provincial political commissar by then.
“When I applied for a farm, I was given the same farm which he is now claiming to be his. In fact, I found that a war veteran was already using the farm although he had no offer letter. So, I am surprised if he is saying I have grabbed his farm.”
A recent government exercise to repossess underutilised land in Chiredzi has seen a number of people losing their farmland.
Several attempts to get a comment from Shiri were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.