Probe against Mugabe's wife halted by govt officials – report

2017-04-13 05:47
Grace Mugabe (File: AP)

Grace Mugabe (File: AP)

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Harare – A human rights violation probe against Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe has reportedly hit a brick wall - as government officials have allegedly refused to co-operate with a rights commission.

According to NewsDay, Grace was being investigated by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) on allegations of forcefully removing more than 200 families from the Manzou Farm in Mazowe.

ZHRC investigators were given a runaround last week by some officials, including Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister Martin Dinha, the officer-in-charge of Mazowe Police Station, and the provincial chief lands officer.

An unnamed source, who was close to the investigations, said that the government officials, including Dinha, were not available to meet the investigators without any concrete reasons.

"It’s been hard to see these people. It has been one excuse after another even though it is known they are all available, they seem unwilling to co-operate," the unnamed source reportedly said.

A human rights lawyer representing the affected families has written a letter – in which he was threatening to sue - to Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri.

Reports in 2015 indicated that heavily armed police officers evicted more than 200 families from a farm in eastern Zimbabwe to create space for a game park proposed by Grace.

Police officers and members of Zimbabwe's secret service turned up at Arnold Farm in Mazowe district, about 50km east of the capital Harare, forcing the residents to leave without notice.

Grace has allegedly forcible seized several other properties within the vicinity where the first family is farming and has established a state of the art orphanage, complete with a school. 

But a News24 report last month stated that a court ruled against the first lady's move to seize yet another farm, as she sought to expand her empire in the prime farming area of Mazowe.

A High Court ruling upheld an urgent chamber application filed by Mazowe villagers, effectively interdicting the police from evicting them from Arnold Farm at the behest of the president's wife.

The villagers had occupied the property for the past 17 years courtesy of Mugabe’s controversial land reforms.

The Mugabes are reportedly owning more than 14 farms, a development seen as contravening the country's constitution on land.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  grace mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  land reform

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