A farm in Mazowe that belongs to former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe has been invaded by illegal gold miners estimated to number about 400‚ who are conducting gold panning activities on the property.
Smithfield farm invasion poses a threat to the Mugabe’s farming activities in the Mazowe area‚ which is the heart of their business empire. It is also a marked turn of fortunes for the once powerful couple that rubber-stamped and oversaw the often violent seizure of white-owned farms in the country in 2000.
At the invaded Smithfield farm‚ property worth thousands of dollars that includes state-of-the-art irrigation equipment was damaged and farming equipment was stolen by the illegal gold panners‚ Mugabe claimed in a police report filed at Mazowe police station.
“On the 29th day of March 2018 at around 11:30 hours‚ I was touring my farm‚ Smithfeld‚ when I arrived at lemon pool section‚ I was shocked to find a group of approximately 400 men busy illegally panning for gold. I then asked them to stop their activities since I am the owner of the farm and I am the holder of a special grant for the whole area. However‚ the crowd‚ which was being led by one known as Nyazvigo‚ started to shout obscenities at me and continued with their unlawful activities. The illegal activities have since destroyed my irrigation infrastructure‚ which feeds lemons pool section‚ and there is massive land degradation‚” Grace Mugabe said.
The special grant given to Mugabe is recorded under number 6045 and was signed in June in 2016‚ by the mines and mining development ministry.
The illegal gold panners have so far refused to leave the property.
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