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A top private school in Zimbabwe is trying to reclaim prime land allegedly seized from it by former first lady, Grace Mugabe.
The 23-hectare plot of land is in the heart of Harare’s plush northern Borrowdale suburb, just a few kilometres from the former first family’s private mansion.
Donated church land
According to the private NewsDay, Grace Mugabe took over the land some years ago with the help of former local government minister, Ignatius Chombo, without the knowledge of the school.
“Eaglesvale Senior School has now renewed its fight for the large piece of land donated to it by RCZ (Reformed Church of Zimbabwe) close to 40 years ago and registered under the Eaglesvale Daisyfield Trust (EDT),” the report said.
It’s understood the school, which is located in Harare’s southern industrial sites, wants to build a new campus on the Borrowdale property.
Grace Mugabe has reportedly been growing maize on the land, which is close to the main Borrowdale road. The well-tended crops are clearly visible to motorists.
This week school officials visited the property, changed locks on the gate and erected a billboard. But the Mugabes later broke the locks and took down the notice with the help of police, reports the paper.
“Mugabe’s family came (on Monday) and the old man (Mugabe) was there in person. They asked for police escort to break the lock, went inside and pulled down the billboard and left,” an unnamed source close to the police told the paper.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi denied police involvement, describing it as a “civil” matter. He said that both parties were “engaging each other”.
Independent reports say Mugabe’s family and close relatives own close to 16 000 hectares of land between them.