Grace Mugabe's farm manager arrested after 'looted' wheelchairs found at his farm

2017-12-23 07:16
Grace Mugabe (File: AP)

Grace Mugabe (File: AP)

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Harare - Two of Robert Mugabe’s cabinet ministers, including one who managed several of the former first family's farms, have been arrested after looted farm equipment was found on his property.

Former agriculture minister Joseph Made and former provincial minister Jason Machaya are facing charges of abuse of office, said the state-run Herald.

Chocolate, ice-cream, yoghurt

Made used to help manage some of the Mugabe’s farms, including former first lady Grace Mugabe's flagship Alpha Omega Dairy that produces chocolate, ice-cream and yoghurt for the local market. He was a key enforcer of Mugabe's controversial land reform programme that saw farms seized from up to 4 000 white farmers from 2000 onwards.

A separate report in the Herald said officials discovered farm equipment and inputs allegedly looted and left to rot at Made’s own farm in eastern Manicaland province.

“The equipment includes brand new irrigation pipes, seven tractors, seven state-of-the-art planters, three ridgers, disc harrows and 10 centre pivots,” a top district official, Pasttense Tarondwa told the paper.

Wheelchairs and walking aids

Also discovered hoarded in a warehouse on the farm were several tons of fertilizer and seed, some of it expired, and - bizarrely – wheelchairs and walking aids.

Machaya is accused of having corruptly sold land in Midlands province to private land developers. Six of the developers have been summoned for questioning by police, said the Herald.

The two high-profile arrests follow the Wednesday arrest of ex-mines minister Walter Chidhakwa. He’s said to be one of Mugabe’s nephews and an ally of Grace.

'Zero tolerance'

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised “zero tolerance” of corruption. His new government, formed in the wake of Mugabe’s dramatic ouster in November, is desperate to lure foreign investment by presenting itself as clean and trustworthy.

In his first state of the nation address on Wednesday Mnangagwa said every case of corruption should be investigated and punished. “There should be no sacred cows,” he said. There will be murmurings though that this is a clampdown on Mugabe's allies in Grace G40 faction, which did its best to quash Mnangagwa's chances of ever succeeding Mugabe before the military stepped in on November 15. Mugabe eventually resigned after 37 years in power.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  joseph made  |  grace mugabe  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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