Zanu-PF apologises for land invasions
Harare - Member's of Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF party on Monday apologised for militants who forcefully entered a series of lakeside private boat clubs and tourist lodges over the weekend, according to tour operator groups.
The incidents, along Lake Chivero, 20km from Harare, had created fears that Zanu-PF militias might be orchestrating a grab of the tourism facilities. Mugabe's supporters in the past have regularly seized white-owned farm properties, often with the state turning a blind eye to the practice.
However, the most recent incidents - conducted as Zimbabwean Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi was at a conference in Spain trying to drum up the tourism business in Zimbabwe - elicited an apology, said Gary Stafford, owner of Shiri Kuimba, one of the clubs targeted over the weekend.
A mob of about 200, carrying posters with Zanu-PF flags and portrait of party leader, President Robert Mugabe, on Friday forced their way into Shiri Kuimba, demanding to see the company's list of assets.
Simultaneously, groups of veterans loyal to Mugabe entered and locked down about 20 further sites.
There was no overt violence, said Stafford. But he noted that police did not come until after party leaders arrived to get the trespassers to leave.
Then, on Monday, Stafford said he had been told by a senior official of the state tourism company that Vice President Joice Mujuru, at a meeting with the tourism company to discuss the trouble, had asked for her apologies to be extended to the victims.
Zanu-PF senior Minister Ignatius Chombo denied any party involvement with the weekend's activities.