Grace justifies Mazowe land grabs

via Grace justifies Mazowe land grabs – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 28, 2015 by Everson Mushava

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe has defended her Mazowe land grabs in Mashonaland Central Province, accusing the villagers who were displaced during the expansion of her business empire in the area of under-utilising the land.

In a wide-ranging interview with the State media during her lavish 50th birthday celebrations at her plush Borrowdale home in Harare on Saturday, Grace said she displaced the villagers in order to properly develop the area and generate employment.

Grace blasted the media for negative reportage of her business projects.

“All they (media) say is that she has taken land from the people of Mazowe. And how many people really have been displaced?” Grace asked.

“They lie, ‘600 people’, but there were no 600 people in Mazowe, at that place. There were few people that had put up structures that really were not solid structures. It is not just in Mazowe where people had been moved from a place because that place wants to be developed. It has happened elsewhere in the world.”

Grace, who grabbed part of Interfresh’s Mazowe Citrus Estate land at the height of land invasions a few years ago, was recently accused of displacing nearly 1 000 families from Manzou Farm in Mazowe to pave way for her private wildlife sanctuary.

But Grace said although she was not perfect, the media should also give positive coverage to her philanthropic projects.

“But instead of saying Amai has created jobs for the people; Amai in her own small way is trying to develop Zimbabwe . . . I am doing as much as I can, as an individual, to also build the nation, to contribute to the development of Zimbabwe in my own small way,” she said.

“I am a quiet person. I don’t talk that much and I don’t talk nonsense. Even if I meet people, I am not an excitable person who just talks about politics.”

She added: “Look, I have been First Lady for the past 20 years and it has not gone to my head. I still maintain my cool. I know how it feels to be in that position. I see a lot of excitable characters out there and I look at them. Please go to those people who have the experience, and ask how to behave when you are in certain positions.”