Zimbabwe Olympic legend Kirsty Coventry enters into farming

Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry

HARARE – Former Olympic swimming gold medallist Kirsty Coventry has been implicated in the seizure of a property allocated by Zimbabwe’s government to Robert Zhuwao, nephew of the late former president Robert Mugabe.

According to court papers filed by Zhuwao at the high court, Coventry – who is the minister of sport, arts and culture – through her husband, Tyrone Seward, gave Zhuwao 30 days to wind up operations.

Zhuwao’s June 5 urgent application in “Robert Zhuwao v Kirsty Coventry and Anor” reads: “We kindly request your indulgence to file the urgent chamber application using the scanned version of the affidavit.”

The application was filed by lawyers Machekano Law Practice.

Zhuwao has been out of the country since 2018. His lawyers have said he is recovering from brain surgery and is therefore fighting the takeover of his 232ha farm through e-mailed communication.

Robert, named after his uncle Robert Mugabe, is the second Zhuwao to be dispossessed of a farm after his brother Patrick’s mechanised farm was also put under notice last year.

Patrick, a former cabinet minister under Robert Mugabe, is exiled in South Africa.

Alongside Prof Jonathan Moyo and presidential aspirant Saviour Kasukuwere, they were the leading lights of the G40 faction in Zanu-PF but fled the country during the November 2017 coup. All of them have had their farms repossessed.

After coming into power, President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to improve the agrarian sector. Part of his plan was to downsize big farms and reallocate the land. However, some argue it’s been a targeted approach on his political enemies.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that despite a 17% targeted increase in food production during the 2019/20 agriculture season, there will still be food shortages.

“Long dry spells in late December and January, as well as the early cessation of the season, negatively affected the planted crop,” reads a report by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee.