A CONSIGNMENT of tobacco bales from ousted former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Ruzambo Farm in Beatrice was last week allegedly rejected by a Harare tobacco auction floor under unclear circumstances.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Mujuru — who lost her lofty government and Zanu PF posts as President Robert Mugabe’s deputy last December after being accused of plotting to oust the Zanu PF leader — had sent her tobacco to the auction floors for marketing.
Yesterday, asked for comment over the matter, Mujuru, who is now at war with Mugabe and the Zanu PF leadership, could only say: “Not really, it has been sorted somehow.”
The ex-VP declined to disclose reasons for the initial rejection of her tobacco crop or the quantities involved.
But impeccable sources said Mujuru had more than 50 hectares under tobacco among other crops this year.
The sources said the widow of Zimbabwe’s first army general Solomon Mujuru had her tobacco delivery turned away by Tobacco Sales Floor Limited (TSF) without any explanation.
“She had to ask authorities as to why her consignment had been turned away, hence they later accepted it. But we suspect it was somehow a political move which failed to succeed,” the source close to the family said yesterday.
Mujuru’s daughter, Nyasha, who is said to be responsible for the business unit, yesterday refused to discuss the issue, referring questions to other family members.
“Why not talk to other members of the family? I can’t say anything on that. More so, I am in a meeting, so I cannot discuss anything with you,” she said before switching off her mobile phone.
TSF general manager James Mutambanesango said he was unaware of any such development, but would set up an investigation to establish circumstances surrounding the matter.
“I am currently not aware of such an incident. We will, however, institute an investigation as a matter of urgency and will advise you of our findings as soon as we make meaningful progress,” Mutambanesango said.
“I would, however, like to advise from the outset that it is not company policy to turn away any tobacco from bona-fide growers registered to sell through auction or through any of the contractors who operate from the floor.”
Mujuru fell out with her erstwhile Zanu PF comrades following a sustained campaign last year led by First Lady Grace Mugabe who publicly accused her of corruption and plotting to assassinate and topple Mugabe in order to land the coveted number one position in government and the ruling party through unconstitutional means.
Mujuru has, however, denied the charges and challenged her detractors to prove the accusation in a court of law.
Since her fall from power, there have been several reports of intrusion at the former Vice-President’s farm by suspected State security functionaries, some of whom were arrested for trespassing.
Various business investments linked to her have also fallen foul of hostile politics with some contracts being cancelled, while some executives have also been placed on surveillance on their movements to ensure that they do not interface with her openly.