Kondozi Farm 10 years on

via Kondozi Farm 10 years on | The Zimbabwean 22.04.14 by Clayton Masekesa

Where 5,000 Zimbabwean once made a good living off the productive land, there is now severe hunger. Where healthy crops once sprouted, there weeds now cover the once industrious land.

This is the sad story of Kondozi Farm 10 years after it was ruined by the Zanu (PF) land “reform” programme. Once a beacon of Zimbabwe’s horticultural export industry, the farm has been reduced to unproductive land.

Good Friday in April 2004 was not a good day for Edwin Moyo, the owner of Kondozi Farm and his 5,000 workers. Dozens of armed police arrived at the farm in Odzi, about 40km west of Mutare, armed with water cannons and submachine guns and ordered everyone to vacate the farm.

The partisan police and overzealous war veterans blocked off the road leading to the farm, looted the offices and beat anyone who sought to resist their orders.

It is alleged that five Zanu (PF) ministers — Didymus Mutasa, Joseph Made, Christopher Mushohwe, Munacho Mutezo and Mike Nyambuya – together with other senior party officials, went on a looting spree.

Orders defied

Zimbabwe’s Attorney General gave the five cabinet ministers up to June 19, 2004 to return farming equipment looted from the key horticultural producer or face arrest. But, the order fell on deaf ears as the ministers defied the call.

The looted equipment included 48 tractors, four Scania trucks, five UD trucks, several T35 trucks and 26 motorbikes. Several tonnes of fertilisers and chemicals also disappeared.

The High Court in May 2004 granted Barclays Bank an order to repossess all movable farming equipment at Kondozi Farm. Movable assets listed in the court order included an ERF 30-tonne truck, two-tonne forklifts, 30 motorised knapsacks, 10 Jialings, 15 Same tractors, six Nissan Diesel UD 90 chassis & cab trucks, three Nissan Cabstar 4-tonne trucks, two Nissan 2,7 S/cab trucks and two Nissan 2,7 Hardbody D/cabs.

Barclays-Fincor, together with Zimbank-Syfrets and the African Banking Corporation, were the chief investors in Kondozi, which had established lucrative export markets in South Africa and Europe.

Precious Forex

But the takeover of the farm provoked a reaction different from those regarding earlier farm seizures. Many Zimbabweans were puzzled over how the Zanu (PF) government could grab a business that was owned by a black man, employed so many people and generated so much precious foreign currency.

In defending the takeover, despite the High Court’s ruling, Zanu (PF) officials pointed out that although Moyo was majority owner of the business, a white family – the De Klerks – owned the land.

The seizure provoked outrage so intense that it caused a rare public fracture. The late Vice President Joseph Msika, who oversaw land redistribution in Mugabe’s cabient, sought to block the takeover, but all was in vain.

Even Vice President Joice Mujuru, who chaired the National Economic Recovery Council, tried to push for the revival of Kondozi as one of the major objectives of the National Economic Development Programme, but was unsuccessful.


Shocked workers and villagers in the vicinity were left with nothing. Most villagers within the Kondozi area benefited from buying vegetables at cheap prices from the farm.

Moyo owned 52 per cent of Kondozi running a horticultural company that stocked vegetable bins throughout Britain and brought in $15 million a year to Zimbabwe’s coffers. Mushowe took over the farm and some of the land was sub-divided among war veterans.

A former supervisor at the farm who is now living in poverty said: “Life was good at Kondozi. We were paid handsomely and everything flowed smoothly. We never complained of anything. But when the farm was invaded we were left jobless. It is now ten years now and I am still jobless.”

“I will never forgive them (Zanu PF) for invading the farm. We were living a comfortable life,” said a former employee from the accounts department who is now surviving on cross border trading.

Sad memories

“The administration of the farm was good. It was a very big company as there were three buses that carried the workers from Mutare daily to and from work. It was a prestigious company to work for and everyone cherished it,” he added.

Jessica Marange a former senior employee said Kondozi was now history what only left were permanent scars of sad memories. “Look at Kondozi today, it is like a desert. We used to live a good life but since Zanu (PF) took away the farm the workers were left suffering and up to now some are still leaving in abject poverty,” she said.

Many of the former workers are still unemployed and their life has been difficult. They have accused Mugabe and Zanu (PF) of being insensitive to their plight.

“People are angry with what Mushowe and other Zanu (PF) officials did by closing and invading Kondozi Farm. Most villagers who used to work at the farm are still angry and unemployed,” said a traditional leader who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Grave mistake

“Since 2006 some of our children have not been going to school, as the former Kondozi workers did not have any income at all. This is a very grave mistake that Zanu (PF) made,” added the traditional leader.

Amos Mutunhu another former worker a supervisor at the mechanic section said: “As workers we can easily identify the ministers who had disposed the company’s assets in underhand dealings. A lot of spare parts were sold and machinery and other vehicles were looted and we ended up recovering scrap metal for our day-today operations.”

“Our girl children have ventured into prostitution. There have been family breakdowns, as some wives have deserted their homes and have been married by illegal diamond dealers at nearby Chiadzwa diamond field,” said Aleck Jangano another former employee.

Twenty-two farmers, most of whom are black and who sold beans, corn, melons and other crops under contract to Kondozi, also lost their livelihoods. Hundreds of other workers were employed by these smaller farms, many of which have stopped producing and are now living in poverty.

A recent visit to Kondozi Farm today showed only a few fields with crops, most of them stunted and immature – grown by war veterans who do not have technical farming expertise.


  • comment-avatar
    Jono Austin 9 years ago

    Loot, ransack, rape , pillage, kill, lie, destroy. Mugabe and his gang in 7 words. And let there be no mistake Fatso Mujuru is thick with them and one of them. What DISGUSTING excuses for human beings they are.

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      Mena Bona 9 years ago

      And, to top this off, Sadc and the AU support this Kleptocracy, its leader and his filthy band of thugs. What has Africa become? A few criminals being allowed to do as they please as they sell, what they don’t steal to China, for their own accounts. They will enjoy now but they will rot in hell.

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    It’s like acountry without a leader !

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    Their greed and abuse has known no bounds, Chikurubi is waiting.

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    Mseyamwa 9 years ago

    Converted at least 5000 individuals export efforts into 5000 potential importers, crossboarder traders and yet you wonder how we end up with liquidity problems and that was only one farm.

    You said you wanted to discongest the rural areas yet you remove 5000 people from one farm and replace them with a few hundred including ministers, war vets and their families. Which area did you relieve of congestion there?

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    John Thomas 9 years ago

    It is no use crying over spilt milk. ZANU will do this thing again and again at every opportunity. The only way for this destruction to end is for them to go. Let each of us, where we can, do our best to increase their difficulties. In the end they will have no choice but to go.

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      Doris 9 years ago

      That’s all well and good J.T. But the longer it takes the greater the devastation. This is only one example of their greed. On our place only one top senator grabbed and destroyed a highly productive export farm. Even our personal possessions were grabbed. Our family has been destitute – all we worked for is gone. Those farms can only now be revitalized by huge corporate companies who have the finance to resurrect them. It has been racism in reverse and nobody gives a damn.

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    nyoni 9 years ago

    The land policy was and still is a tactic by Zanu to get rich quick. All races lost land but Zanu came out trumps. Please Zanu tell us who your nanga is. They must be floating in mula.

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    It must all be taken back forcefully when change comes.No prisoners.!!

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    Mlimo 9 years ago

    Well to be fair go and ask who the 5000 villagers voted for and I bet the majority voted zanupf so you reap what you sow. You were all told and forewarned in 1980 about Mugabe so don’t cry now you had your chance.

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      DubboZimbo 9 years ago

      To be fair to the people of Mutate, they did vote Roy Bennett into parliament. Although ZANU could not handle that and forced Roy into exile. Mugabe could not allow blacks to vote a white in, that he could not allow.

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    roving ambassador. 9 years ago

    Good follow up story.
    Let the truth be told.
    Black empowerment!!!!!!??????? my backside.

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    Little Dorrit 9 years ago

    Send this to Ian Scoones

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    Ian Scoones must be a paid apologist/propagandist or something. I live out in Mash West and my eyes do not lie. Much land lies idle and under utilised and some tell e that come mid May the few remaining productive farmers have to go. Where do they go? To Zambia maybe where they can contribute to Zambia’s rising economy and export their crops back to a dying Zimbabwe. Does that make sense to anyone on this blog? Then why does it make senses to all the Ph’d’s in ZPF???

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    selfish people the day is coming

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    bruce koffe 9 years ago

    Mugabe Mugabe is destroyer from the beginning. He took over as first Prime Minister and destroyed the currency. Zimbabwe dollar was stronger than the rand and the USD and other currencies world over. Now that same currency is not on the list of currencies. The industries in Zimbabwe used to serve the SADC and now its not even one producing anything except repacking what has been manufactured elsewhere. The education system used to be the envy of the region, now Zimbabweans are scattered all over the world seeking better education elsewhere. Zimbabwe used to employ people from Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi now its citizen are in these countries seeking employment. Medically Zimbabwe used to have the best hospital second to South Africa, now its worst in the region. Our military and the police force used to be pride of region, now they are the most corrupt and ill disciplined. Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of Southern Africa, now it is beggar of Southern Africa All due to MUGABE and ZANU PF, shame.

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    we dont want that in our midst kana zvachinja hurumende ichavapo inotofanira kusheedza varungu kuti vadzoke kuminda yavo varime and those guys we must force them out wether they like it or not
    ini i am going to be a cio in the next government and i will root them out one by one i bet you i know them…. chombo anofanira kudzosa zvese zvaakatora kana yasvika nguva hatidi vanhu vanoratidza kuti imhuka dzinodya dzimwe kana nzara yaipa vaChombo kana murikuteerera garai zvenyu maziva kuti tichatora zvedu

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    Zeezee 9 years ago

    Bread basket to begging bowl!

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    Saddened 9 years ago

    What can we expect from a party who know better than anyone else that the majority of people in Zimbabwe have repeatedly rejected them since 2000. Why else would their actions consistently be so vindictive & hateful especially towards the majority. At least Ian Smith looked after his own best but at least the rest of us lived a reasonable life compared to present day Zimbabwe.

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    This is what happens when a gvt has no monitoring and evaluation systems.No one monitors, every member in power is stealing.Instead of getting farms in phase, and the evaluate the effectiveness of its strategy, ZANU just set its digs on everyone deemed opposition.That was a sad scenario.Nigeria has overtaken SA as the strongest economy, just few years back, Nigeria was admiring Zimbabwe.Its really sad.This is not a stage of foolish rhetoric when people are dying.The writer heralded the sad issue in an excellent way.

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    maita 9 years ago

    This is the reason why ZanuPF will stick to power they have destroyed everything in their wake and to expect them to go peacefully is a joke yet we lack mables to confront these saboteurs.I once passed through this farm during its days when a friend invited me and had a beer at its club, it was marvelous and the same friend asked me if we could pass through some vindage point to see what is Kondozi now, I shed a tear but Mushowe, Mutasa will tell you they have moved on to other lucrative farms and will invite you again to see another desert. Mugabe will go down as the strongest pan-africanist who destroyed his own country for his own ego. Zimbabwe will never see light as long as this people are in power and one thing I know they will do anything to stay in power even if it mean decimating the whole population. They have done so much harm that now they say “ukadya imbwa idya iri hono”

    • comment-avatar
      roving ambassador. 9 years ago

      Correction, Mugabe is no pan-africanist. He is a fraud. he is a conman.
      Treasonous dog. Unfortunately we raised that dog on milk now it has turned against us.

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    I notice a marked absence of ZanuPf trolls on this post. Where are all you guys saying, “Mugabe is my hero!”?

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    Sad testament to man’s cruelty upon his fellow man. Sick to the core.