Former First Lady Grace Mugabe, 52, Friday reported about 400 artisanal gold miners to Mazowe police for illegally mining in her Smithfield Farm and threating her children’s livelihood.
Grace also wants the police to stop the artisanal miners from loitering inside her farm during the night since their activities are damaging her state of the art irrigation equipment.
Her farm, which has now become a playground for villagers, was once a no go area due to 24 hour tight security provided by state agents and ruling party youths when she was First Lady.
In her statement to the ZRP and in possession of New Zimbabwe, Grace claimed that theft cases have occurred at her farm.
“On the 29 march at around 1130 am I was touring my farm, Smithfield; when I arrived at Lemon Pool section, I was shocked to find a group of approximately 400 men illegally panning for gold,” she wrote in her statement.
“I then asked them to stop their activities since I am the owner of the farm and I am the holder of a special grant for the whole area,” she wrote.
The former first lady added, “However the crowd, which was being led by one Nyazvigo, started to shout obscenities at me and continued with their unlawful activities.”
“The illegal activities have since destroyed my irrigation infrastructure which feeds the Lemon Pool section and there is massive land degradation.”
The Smithfield and surrounding areas such as Manzou and Arnold farms were no go areas for close to two decades after the former First Lady grabbed the area to build an orphanage and school.
Two years ago, she illegally and forcibly evicted hundreds of villagers dumping them in the bush where they ended up surviving on guavas and melon, drinking water by peeling out tree bark.
Despite winning several court orders stopping evictions, the police, with orders from the former First Lady, threw the villagers out of the area forcing the squatters to appeal to the African Union and SADC.
At one point, Grace reportedly grabbed the iconic Mazowe Dam and nearby mountain forcing apostolic sects who use open space to stop conducting their prayers and church services.
Recently, some of the evicted villagers were awarded $30 000 by the High Court as compensation for loss of their property among other things.