BULAWAYO – A top Zipra ex-combatant, John Gazi, has been evicted from his 1 400 hectare Honey Bird Kop Farm ostensibly because he does not deserve land from a government he wished to topple.
Gazi, Paul Siwela and Charles Gumbo — all members of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front, a secessionist Matabeleland pressure group — were facing treason charges arising from designing and planning the distribution of pamphlets viewed by the State as agitating for a public uprising against President Robert Mugabe’s government.
The State alleges the pamphlets, all bearing a symbol similar to the Mthwakazi Liberation Front’s symbol, could cause uprisings similar to the ones in Egypt.
Gazi’s farm, about 40km along the Bulawayo-Plumtree road, has been grabbed by the ministry of Lands.
He claims he was acquitted of the treason charges.
According to a letter dated April 19 signed by Matabeleland North acting chief lands officer one P Nkiwane, Gazi was ordered to move out of the farm.
“In our provincial land committee meeting which we held on February 17, 2016, I informed the committee that all the recommended beneficiaries at Honey Bird Kop farm have been advised to stop all operations they had started or intended to start on the farm until the minister of Lands has approved the allocations.
“The committee recommended that all the settlers should move out, including Gazi because he is an illegal settler,” Nkiwane said in the letter.
“The provincial committee also noted that you are facing treason charges which are still pending in the High Court because one of the co-accused died in prison cells and the second one skipped bail.
“In view of that, the committee believes that you don’t deserve land from a government that you wish to topple.”
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Gazi said it was unfortunate that certain people in Zanu PF were using their power to see him off the farm which he acquired from a white farmer some 15 years ago.
“These are serious allegations raised against me,” he said.
“I would like to elaborate on that because in their points they are just stating lies and nothing else.
“They are putting people back onto my farm despite directives from the permanent secretary in the ministry of Lands and from the minister himself Douglas Mombeshora and the director of resettlement.
“They got all those directives but they have continued to defy the land orders.”
Gazi said he has been living in fear ever since Onias Mangena forcibly moved on the farm.
“There were incidents where my life was threatened, there were people coming with unmarked vehicles, coming at odd hours and in the night, going to all corners of the farm.
“Unfortunately, police never act when I make a report. I am no longer sleeping at the farm.”