By Obey Manayiti
Chipinge farmer Richard Le Vieux yesterday accused Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba of attempting to grab his multi-million export enterprising farm and was only blocked from doing so by Cabinet.
Le Vieux told the Justice Mayor Wadyajena led Parliamentary committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement that Gwaradzimba, whose son, Remembrance Mbudzana, had been allocated his Farfell Estates, was trying to force partnerships with lucrative farms by threatening to grab all their land if they refused.
At one point, Gwaradzimba allegedly summoned four commercial farmers and threatened to take their land if they refused her preferred partnership.
At that particular meeting, Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri reportedly also repeatedly threatened to kick out the farmers if they continuously defied the orders.
Le Vieux, who at one point was invited to farm in Mozambique by the leadership in that country, also narrated how he was bundled into a police truck at night for refusing to pave the way for the minister’s son.
He also told the committee how he was made to appear before the courts on numerous occasions before Cabinet’s intervention to save his land.
“Cabinet has now determined that Mr Richard Le Vieux is to remain on the estates,” read a letter that was written by Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo after a Cabinet deliberation to stop Gwaradzimba.
“He will be facilitated to acquire the requisite documentation to give him certainty of land tenure according to his legal entitlement.”
Among other things, the former Swiss banker exports coffee and avocados to Europe.
He also told the committee that the country had immense agricultural potential and it needed to improve infrastructure, especially the road network. NewsDay