Saviour Kasukuwere’s former citrus farm in Mazowe is now desolate after it was allocated to Mazowe district war veterans’ chairman Ephanos Mudzimunyi.
Mudzimunyi took over Concorpia farm in 2020 after he was given an offer letter by the late Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development Minister Perrance Shiri.
According to NewZimbabwe.com, the orange trees are wilting from thirst and are now barely visible, outgrown by tufted grass.
Mudzimunyi has reportedly failed to pay utilities, resulting in the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) disconnecting water supplies to the farm.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), has also switched off power to the farm over the war veteran’s failure to pay bills.
Mudzimunyi told a NewZimbabwe.com crew that visited his farm that protracted court battles have impacted farming operations. He said:
All this dilapidation is a result of the court battles, but we are thankful that the president intervened and soon we will be back on our feet.
When Shiri allocated the Concorpia farm to Mudzimunyi in 2020, Kasukuwere approached the High Court for redress.
Despite the court ruling that Mudzimunyi had no legal right to the property, he remained on the farm in clear defiance of the order.
At that time Mudzimunyi grabbed the farm, the fruit had fully ripened and was ready for the market.
At its peak, the farm employed dozens of workers and exported oranges to various foreign markets.
Speaking to the publication from his South African base, Kasukuwere claimed he was a victim of political persecution. He said:
There is a refusal by the Sheriff to respect the court decision. The man should have been evicted ages ago and there is no movement. Perhaps that’s how political persecution works.
Trees which we have planted and tended to are drying. The loss to the country due to the export receipts is huge.
We have been exporting to the Middle East and all that is now in tatters. At times you don’t understand how this government works. Individual differences should not be a government issue.
Kasukuwere said that at the time of the farm’s occupation by Mudzimunyi, they were negotiating a US$5 million investment deal with a Dubai-based company.