By John Chimunhu|
Now Daily Investigation|
Mazowe – Most of the professional managers clandestinely transferred from the state-run Arda to Gushungo Dairy Estate, owned by President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace, have fled citing non-payment of salaries and abuse by the first lady, Now Daily can reveal.
More than a dozen managers were surreptitiously moved from Arda Estates to Iron Mask farm in Mazowe after the Mugabes seized it forcibly from its white owners. Initially, the workers were paid by Arda, which has now buckled under due to heavy corruption, including illegal transfers of cattle to the president’s farm.
“Workers usually go for six months without pay,” said a former manager who has now fled to Botswana. “When the money comes, it is so heavily deducted that workers end up getting nothing. The workers are just told the money went to pay tax.”
Another manager accused Grace Mugabe and her manager-son Russel Goreraza of being violent and abusive.
“Grace has beaten up a number of managers herself during meetings at the farm after falsely accusing them of theft or some other misdemeanor. She is very violent but her guards are even more vicious,” said the manager still at the farm.
Trade union activity is brutally suppressed at the farm.
The activist group Consumer Action on Wednesday called for a boycott of products from Alpha Omega Dairy, a subsidiary of Gushungo Dairy.
“The milks, cheeses and yoghurt being produced by Alpha Omega Dairy are being produced under conditions of slavery, unpaid wages, sexual harassment, torture and beatings of workers. Consumers must feel ashamed to be associating themselves with these abuses by buying these products. Giants like Nestle who do business with Grace Mugabe must be made to pay by a consumer boycott as well,” Consumer Action said in a statement.
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