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Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeNewsPublic Officials Accused Of ‘Intimidating’ Chipinge Banana Farmers

Public Officials Accused Of ‘Intimidating’ Chipinge Banana Farmers

A number of Mutema banana farmers in Chipinge have accused public officials of trying to coerce them back into a contractual agreement with Matansuka against their will.

The company, Matanuska and some banana farmers in Mutema Irrigation Scheme had mutually terminated an existing contract on the 30th September 2021 but some public officials are allegedly employing dirty tactics to woo the farmers back into another agreement.

Early this week, the farmers were summoned to a meeting which was attended by Chipinge District Development Coordinator William Mashava, Chipinge RDC Chief Executive Officer Blessing Mamvosha, Chipinge Agritex officer Tapiwanashe Chagwesha and  some members of District Joint Operations Command.

Speaking to this publication, one of the farmers revealed that the meeting was tense.

“The meeting  was organized by Matanuska but we got a surprise when we found Chipinge DDC Mashava,Chipinge RDC  CEO Blessing Mamvosha and Chipinge Agritex Officer Tapiwanashe Chagwesha in attendance.

“There were also members of the security forces and this we felt was an act of intimidation because the agenda was to force us to re-sign the contracts to 2024,” said the farmer who requested anonymity.

Another farmer also confirmed that those who were opposing the re-signing of the contracts were labelled opposition members.

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“The public officials accused some of us for being used by politicians but those in the ruling party, ZANU PF stood with us demanding that we should not be coerced into extending the contracts,’’ revealed the farmer.

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“Mr Chagwesha (Chipinge Agritex Officer) threatened to dissolve our committee if we remained adamant to negotiate again with Matansuka,” added the farmer.

A local governance practitioner Allan Murozvi who hails from Mutema community argues that public officials shouldn’t pursue private interest at the expense of communities.

“The people have decided to discontinue the contract with the company and that should be respected. The interference from public officials with an intention to coerce farmers back into the contract isn’t progressive and against the will of the farmers,” argued Murozvi .

Contacted for comment, Chipinge DDC William Mashava confirmed the meeting saying the farmers are now divided.

“The farmers are very divided. The contract with Matanuska expired. Unfortunately, one group of farmers want to renew and continue with Matanuska, the other wants to look for new options,” Mashava said.

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