Land invasions take tribal turn

MASVINGO - Zanu PF supporters from Chief Tshvovani’s area in Chiredzi have invaded giant sugar producer Tongaat Hulett’s Triangle plantation as chaos continues to rock President Robert Mugabe’s land redistribution programme.

The 1 000-plus Zanu PF supporters from the Lowveld’s minority Shangani-speaking tribe are accusing Zanu PF of sidelining them during the chaotic land grabs, which they claim benefitted other tribes.

The invasions, which began on Friday, came barely a week after another disgruntled group of about 500 invaded farms belonging to senior Zanu PF officials.

Villagers who talked to the Daily News said their ethnic group had been “alienated and marginalised” by Zanu PF, despite having “our own son Titus Maluleke” being the provincial governor of Masvingo, in which Chiredzi is a district.

“We now want to claim our stake in the land distribution programme because we have been neglected for over 12 years since the programme started. It is funny that the Shangani are the owners of this land in Chiredzi but they did not benefit from the sugar plantations that were grabbed by the Karangas who parcelled the farms among themselves,” said one of the invaders, identifying himself as comrade Rigo.

The Shangani said they thought the issue would be addressed after Maluleke was appointed governor and heads the provincial lands. They claim Maluleke has failed them.

Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe managing director Sydney Mutsambiwa confirmed the invasions.

“We have received reports of that nature and we are trying to engage with the guys and other local authorities to deal with the latest development amicably,” he said.

The invasions could cripple operations as the invaders have camped on a part of the plantation called “Section 4”. They have moved in with their property and have vowed to stay. - Godfrey Mtimba

Maluleke declined to comment.

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