Grand theft and contempt of court

Questions for Joice Mujuru about her past

The Zimbabwean by Guy Watson-Smith

5 October 2016

Former Vice President Joyce Mujuru may experience some difficulty detailing her outstanding cases of grand theft and contempt of court as she tries to raise money in the UK

Former vice president Joice Mujuru

London –   Former Zimbabwean Vice President and decades-long Mugabe supporter, Joice Mujuru, is set to visit the UK at the invitation of Chatham House to drum up support for her new political party. Joice Mujuru will be entering the UK for the first time since a blanket travel ban on the Mujurus (as part of President Robert Mugabe’s inner circle) was quietly dropped.

This visit will take place against the backdrop of two different Zimbabwean High Court orders against her, most recently in 2015, citing theft of the moveable assets of Hanagwe P/L.

These assets – worth some US$1.47-million plus compound interest – were forcibly left behind on Alamein Farm in Beatrice, Zimbabwe, when it was seized from the legal owner, his wife and young children in 2001 at gunpoint. The seizure of one of the most productive tobacco farms in Zimbabwe was orchestrated by her now late husband, Solomon Mujuru, under the auspices of the violent Land Reform Programme. Joice Mujuru inherited the farm, on which she lives, together with all the stolen assets.

Mujuru is scheduled to meet with representatives of Chatham House and to attend open meetings of the Zimbabwean Diaspora in the UK in a series of Q&As, of which one will take place in Leicester on Saturday 8 October. She aims to drum up support and raise finance for her new political party, the ZPF (Zimbabwe Peoples First party).

Mujuru appears to have turned her back on Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party. However, she seems quite happy to remain a convenient beneficiary of the regime’s violent past, maintaining residence on and actively operating Alamein Farm. This farm gained further notoriety in 2011 with the death of her husband, retired General turned businessman, Solomon Mujuru, who died in what many commentators describe as mysterious circumstances in the farmhouse which was burnt to the ground on 15 August 15 2011.

Zimbabwean High Court Judgments dating from 2002, and again in 2015, ruled the seizure of the moveable assets on Alamein Farm to be illegal. The judgement of 2002 ordered the return of the assets to owner Guy Watson-Smith, but the Sherriff of the High Court and the agents who tried to retrieve said assets arrived at the farm and were violently evicted, never to return.

The judgment of 2015 ordered payment of compensation for damages, totaling US$1,469,440 plus compound interest to Hanagwe P/L.

Guy Watson-Smith, the owner of Alamein Farm, has invited Mrs Mujuru to attend a private meeting to discuss a settlement of the affair, which she has previously expressed interest in doing, and which would allow her to further her political aspirations with a cleaner slate. Without settling this unpalatable taint of theft and abuse of power, she has little chance of convincing Zimbabweans that she’s fit to raise either support or money, much less higher office.

Guy Watson-Smith invites any questions and requests for further information. He is happy to provide testimony and documentation, including copies of the Zimbabwean Court Judgments