HARARE – Former president Robert Mugabe, who allegedly seized 21 commercial farms during his reign, faces the spectre of losing 20 of those farms as the new administration moves to recover property reportedly looted by the despot.
The revelations undermine the central claim behind Mugabe’s often-violent
land reforms that they gave the majority of black Zimbabweans their
rightful inheritance and righted colonial wrongs.
Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who hounded her husband’s then deputy, Emmerson
Mnangagwa during the dying last days of Mugabe’s rule, is also set to lose
She has been expanding her real estate portfolio in recent months,
splashing millions of dollars on houses, expensive cars and jewellery,
including a much talked about $1 million wedding anniversary ring, which
is now at the centre of a bitter court dispute.
Mnangagwa, who made a dramatic comeback, weeks after he had been booted
out of Zanu PF to claim the presidency, is moving to recover money
allegedly stolen during Mugabe’s 1980-2017 presidency of the mineral-rich
southern African nation and stashed in banks around the world.
The new administration wants all this cash returned to Zimbabwe by March
Mugabe is being accused of embezzling, misappropriating and extorting
money from the Zimbabwean State to build his sprawling business empire,
pointedly the family’s dairy business, Alpha & Omega, whose funding has
always been a subject of conjecture.
Alpha & Omega Dairy is into raw milk production and had diversified into
ice cream and yoghurt manufacturing.
Mugabe’s myriad farms were also breeding heifers.
Acting Information minister and ruling party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo
said on Monday Mugabe will be treated just like anyone if he is found to
own more than one farm as reported by the State media which claimed that
he owns 21 farms, some through proxies.
Asked what government would do to Mugabe’s vast properties, Khaya Moyo
said the law will be applied without favour.
“All I know is that the president has indicated a war on corruption and
that no one is above the law,” Khaya Moyo told the Daily News.
“All of us have been directed to declare our assets and the deadline was
February 29. After the submissions, I think we will get to a day where we
are told who owns what.
“And if the law says one man, one farm and I have five – four will be gone
and then a situation will arise of naming and shaming and people will know
who is who.
“The same will be on the issue of externalisation. Three months were given
to those who took money out and to be frank, not much has been returned
and we will know by the 19th, we shall see who hasn’t returned the money,”
Khaya Moyo added.
Posting on his Facebook page yesterday, Mnangagwa said on March 19, he
will not only name and shame people who have not returned externalised
assets and funds, but he will instruct the National Prosecuting Authority
(NPA) to go after them.
“I would like, however, to make it very clear that we have identified over
a thousand cases which require attention and we have so far processed a
number of these cases which has resulted in us receiving $250 million back
into the country.
“So many cases are being processed on a daily basis case by case. I have
given the Reserve Bank an extra 14 days in order to process most of the
cases that are positive.
“However, to those who have not yet responded or ignored my call to return
assets and funds of Zimbabwe, I say to them on the 19th of March I will
expose them by publishing their names as well as instructing the NPA to
follow them up.
“I would like to warn those who have ignored my call that they are going
to face the full wrath of the laws of our country,” Mnangagwa warned.
Information coming to the fore suggests Mugabe was the biggest beneficiary
of land reforms.
Even though he has consistently maintained that his land reform programme
was meant to benefit the poor black masses, it would appear that it is him
and his cronies who have got the most out of it.
Besides him, the current ruling regime, including top Zanu PF members and
supporters, security service chiefs and officers and traditional chiefs
and senior government officials and judges also benefited handsomely from
the land invasions – which reduced 4 000 white farmers to 400 by murders,
beatings and forced evictions – and is held responsible by many for the
demise of the “breadbasket of Africa”.
The Daily News understands members of the current presidium, ministers and
deputy ministers in Zanu PF are also multiple farm owners.
Curiously, skeletons in Mugabe’s cupboard – real or imagined – are coming
out of the closet just after the former guerrilla leader threw his full
weight behind the New Patriotic Front (NPF), led in the interim by retired
brigadier general Ambrose Mutinhiri.
Mugabe, who turned 94 last month, rattled Zanu PF when he backed
Mutinhiri, whose NPP is closely linked to the vanquished Generation 40
Academic and researcher Ibbo Mandaza said Mugabe, by revealing to the
world that he is not safe and sound, has put the Mnangagwa administration
in a dilemma.
“They don’t know what to do. They wanted to sound cool and claim that he
retired voluntarily …. but now he is back contradicting them and thus
putting them in a dilemma and if they go for him, it will confirm that the
coup was a reality and the whole world will turn against them,” Mandaza
told the Daily News.
Mugabe recently revealed to the chairperson of the African Union Moussa
Faki that contrary to Mnangagwa’s claims that he was receiving perks and
other benefits that he is constitutionally entitled to, he is actually
getting next to nothing and his security has been withdrawn while his wife
Grace is also being harassed.
However, Khaya-Moyo said Mugabe should have engaged Mnangagwa as the two
are still very much in talking terms.
“If the former president is aggrieved by any situation which has arose
since that time, the sitting president is here, they know each other very
“I think the two know each other for a long time. He can convey his
message to the president. I have personally heard that the two talk each
other. A seasoned politician like the former president would not fail to
convey his message,” Khaya-Moyo said.
United Kingdom-based academic Alex Magaisa said Mugabe, the ever shrewd
politician but now insecure, plunged into opposition politics to forestall
any attempts by Zanu PF to strip him of his wealth as he would be seen as
a victim of the Mnangagwa regime.
“Mugabe feels threatened and this is why he has decided to throw the
kitchen sink at his successor by backing an opposition party. The move
into opposition politics is therefore an act of self-preservation.
“The toad has jumped in broad daylight because something is after its
life. Whatever the government does to the Mugabes now, it will be
presented as political harassment merely because Mugabe has taken a
“By associating himself with an opposition political party, Mugabe is
setting himself up as a victim of political persecution,” said Magaisa.