By Phil Tejane|
Harare businessman Phillip Chiyangwa is set to pocket $90 million from the sale of stands on farms seized forcibly from the previous white owners, it emerged.
Chiyangwa sensationally admitted this week that he owns numerous farms, in violation of the government’s one-person-one-farm policy.
The flamboyant businessman and politician was on Sunday disowned by president Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao, who said Chiyangwa only shared the Gushungo totem with the dictator but was not his relative.
Chiyangwa confirmed that his Pinnacle Property Holdings owned many farms, in violation of a 1994 government directive banning ownership of land by companies.
It emerged that Chiyangwa’s relative and local government minister Ignatius Chombo had clandestinely ordered the return of three farms acquired from the businessman by the state in 2010 after it emerged that he was a multiple farm owner. Chiyangwa has now allegedly ordered 20 000 stand owners on the farms to pay him $4 500 each to keep the land. The settlers are risking eviction by resisting Chiyangwa’s move, saying they had already paid $4 000 each for the stands through co-operatives licensed by the government.
Chiyangwa is hearing none of that.
“These farms belong to me and people should not tell me what to do. I am the owner of these farms,” Chiyangwa said.
Many Zanu PF officials, including Mugabe himself, have been exposed as multiple farm owners but no action has been taken against them. A land audit proposed by the opposition and economists has been resisted by Mugabe’s party. Mugabe’s wife Grace is reported to own 39 farms.
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