Vice-President retired General Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Mary has  grabbed the 300-hectare Arda Seeds farm along the Domboshava Road.

Sources have told The Zimbabwe Independent that the Chiwengas seized the farm in February after attempting a similar manoeuvre in 2013.

“On 15 February, they took over Arda Seeds,” said a former worker. “Mary said to workers ‘this is our farm.’ It was not the first time that Chiwengas came to the farm. In 2013, they came and said they wanted to build a school.”

When the Zimbabwe Independent news crew visited the farm last week, a group of about 10 men, clad in blue overalls was erecting a new perimeter fence around the property. The farm was deserted, without any other activity taking place.

Enquiries at the farm’s boom gate — manned by five men wielding assault rifles — were met with hostility. The guards, however, confirmed Chiwenga had taken over the property.

“Arda Seeds is no longer here; this is now the vice-president’s property,” said one of the armed men, before ordering the Independent crew to drive away.

Contacted for comment last week, Mary could neither deny nor confirm taking over the farm.

“The best I can do is to direct you to the ministry,” she said. “They know everything about this matter. You can speak to the director of lands.”

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Settlements Perrence Shiri yesterday asked the reporter to bring the questions to him in writing and in person at his offices Ngungunyana Building. But he did not respond.

Arda Seeds was established in 2002 by the Agriculture Rural Development Authority (Arda) to help meet the country’s growing demand for crop seeds.