Grace Mugabe’s farm invaded by illegal gold diggers
Zimbabwe’s former first lady reports to the police that 400 illegal gold panners invade her farm.
Feeling the heat. The once powerful first lady in Zimbabwe-Grace Mugabe
Harare, March 30, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Illegal workers have invaded the farm of former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe to mine for gold.
Reporters from the Zimbabwean newspaper Newsday found them uprooting lemon trees, digging shafts and loading gold ore into lorries.
The Smithfield farm invasion poses a threat to the Mugabe’s farming activities in the Mazowe area‚ which is the heart of their business empire.
It is also a marked turn of fortunes for the once powerful couple that rubber-stamped and oversaw the often violent seizure of white-owned farms in the country in 2000.
After unsuccessfully confronting them on Thursday, Mrs Mugabe reported the matter to the police.
Mazowe is the village where the Mugabes forcefully evicted people in 2015 while her husband was still in power.
Mrs Mugabe said in a statement to the police obtained by the New Zimbabwe website that she was touring the farm when she was “shocked to find approximately 400 men illegally panning for gold”.
When she confronted them at the farm, some 40km (25 miles) north of Harare, she said they “started to shout obscenities at me and continued with their unlawful activities”.
Newsday reports that one worker shouted at her: “You no longer have any power to remove us. This is the new dispensation, we do what we want”.
Last year Mrs Mugabe was widely reported to be preparing to replace her aging husband as president of Zimbabwe.
But the rumours were not welcomed by parts of the ruling party and he was ousted from office in November, to be replaced by his long-time ally Emmerson Mnangagwa.