SW Radio Africa (London)

7 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Midlands University Takes Over Ian Smith's Farm

At the end of last year the government gazetted the late Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith's Gwenhoro Farm, in Shurugwi, for acquisition.

Now NewsDay is reporting that the Midlands State University has taken over the farm, which is just outside Gweru.

Farm manager Owen Jarman confirmed the land grab to the newspaper and said he was now in the process of paying off terminal benefits to the farm's 35 employees, some of whom had been at the farm for more than 40 years.

He is quoted as saying: "I can confirm that the MSU will be taking over the farm, but all I can say at the moment is that we are engaged with the university in some negotiations as far as the exit date and other logistics are concerned."

The farm has a herd of over 500 cattle, a large poultry project and a citrus plantation. Part of the ranch was invaded by ZANU PF supporters during the 2000 land invasions. If the take over by the university follows the other land grabs in Zimbabwe, no compensation will be paid for the livestock or farm machinery and more Zimbabweans will suddenly be unemployed.

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