Tough times for Grace Mugabe, Bona and their relatives as Mnangagwa’s government goes after their farms


President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has reportedly repossessed extensive land holdings belonging to former first lady Grace Mugabe, her daughter Bona, and other relatives, in a move believed to be a targeted assault orchestrated by the late president’s successor. Sources close to the former first family claim that the land seizures are part of a calculated campaign to undermine and diminish their influence within Zimbabwean political circles.

The whispers of a calculated onslaught against the former first family are growing louder, with The Standard reporting that vast swathes of land belonging to Grace Mugabe, her daughter Bona, and other close relatives have been repossessed by the government.

This land grab, reminiscent of the tumultuous land reform program that defined Mugabe’s rule, has seen the former first lady’s expansive Mazowe citrus farm, home to an orphanage and the Amai Mugabe School, handed over to Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe.

Kazembe, it is whispered, has grand plans for the property, envisioning a bustling mall in place of the once-thriving farm.

The land grab extends beyond Grace Mugabe’s holdings. Bona, her only daughter, has lost much of her farm in Mashonaland Central to the widow of the late Zanla commander Josiah Magama Tongagara, Angeline.

“Tongogara’s wife is now working with the son of the white former farmer, Lance Kennedy to utilise the land,” a Ministry of Lands official revealed, adding, “She took centre pivots that were bought by Bona.”

The Mugabe family, it seems, is not the only target. Grace’s niece, Florence Zinyemba, and her husband Flavian, who served as matron of honour at Mugabe and Grace’s wedding in 1996, have been evicted from their farmhouse, Protea Farm, to make way for Auxilia Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation.

Mnangagwa’s daughter, Tariro, has also benefited from this land grab, receiving a portion of Kevin Mugabe’s Audley End Farm.

“She had been offered that piece of land many years ago,” an official in the Lands ministry said, hinting at a long-standing desire to claim the property.

Robert Zhuwao, another nephew of Mugabe, has also been stripped of his land, losing Subdivision 4 of Cockington Farm to Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry after losing a High Court challenge against his removal.

These land seizures, which have become a recurring theme in the Mnangagwa administration, are not merely isolated incidents. They are part of a broader pattern of retribution and consolidation of power, with Mnangagwa’s loyalists reaping the rewards of their allegiance.

The Mugabe family, however, sees these actions as a continuation of the hostilities that began with the 2017 coup that ousted Mugabe from power. Grace Mugabe, who openly opposed Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions, was a vocal critic of his leadership, leading a public campaign that was ultimately thwarted by the military intervention.

“The targeted seizures of land belonging to the late long-time ruler’s relatives showed there were still hostilities between Mnangagwa and the former first lady,” a Mugabe family member said, echoing the sentiment of many within the family.

The government, however, maintains a stony silence on the matter.

Nick Mangwana, the government spokesperson, refused to comment on the displacement of Mugabe’s family and relatives from their properties.

“I cannot comment on that. I am not aware,” Mangwana told The Standard. “I would refer you to the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central. But if you were going to ask me on a policy issue, I would say if it was a land invasion, they should call the police.”

Lands Minister Anxious Masuka, when contacted for comment, was unavailable.

The land grab, reminiscent of the controversial land reform program implemented by Mugabe, raises concerns about the future of Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector.

In 2019, Mnangagwa declared that an audit had revealed Grace Mugabe owned 16 farms, and he has repeatedly warned that those holding large tracts of land will be dispossessed in line with the government’s “one family one farm” policy.

The government’s actions, however, are not without consequence. The land reform program, which displaced over 4 000 white Zimbabweans from their farms, has left the country saddled with a US$3.5 billion debt to the former farmers for developments on their farms.

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