Mugabe saves white couple from eviction

MUTARE - President Robert Mugabe has blocked a senior government official’s attempt to grab a farm from an elderly Zanu PF-affiliated white couple.

Francis Gudyanga, the Mines ministry permanent secretary, had kicked Tennis Zimbabwe honorary life president, Ann Pearson Martin, 73, and her 76-year-old husband Frank Thomas Martin out of their 660- hectare Five Streams Farm in Mutasa.

Gudyanga seized the property at the end of August after he had been granted an order by the High Court.

The order was enforced by a messenger of court with the aid of heavily-armed anti-riot police.

But the Zanu PF members in Mutasa district lobbied the president through the First Lady Grace Mugabe, who is Tennis Zimbabwe patron, to spare the couple.

Grace worked with Ann during her 12-year tenure as Tennis Zimbabwe president during the glory days of the sport.

Hundreds of local Zanu PF members also weighed in with petitions to “his excellency, the commander-in-chief of the defence forces and president of the Republic of Zimbabwe” to ensure the Martins’ continued ownership of the farm.

“We, the undersigned party leadership, war veterans, Zilwaco, Women’s League, Youth League and traditional leaders of Mutasa District Manicaland Province do hereby state categorically that we support Mr FT Martin to remain the rightful occupant of the remainder of Fivestreams Farm until he gets his offer letter for the same,” read the petition.

The Martins voluntarily ceded more than half their original farm after giving up 507 hectares which were taken over by one of the Central Intelligence Organisation bosses and another 220 hectares on which A1 farmers were resettled.

The Martins had remained with 660 hectares, of which only 220 ha is arable.

Following Mugabe’s intervention, the director of resettlement in the ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Elias Ziro, was ordered to accede to the Martins’ appeal.

In his High Court affidavit, Ziro said “the matter herewith has been tabled before the second respondent (Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement) who is considering the matter with the intention of coming up wit  an amicable solution to the dispute.”

“Accordingly, it is the second respondent’s submission that the applicant should be allowed to continue in occupation of the said farm pending the above mentioned resolution,” the affidavit says.

According to minister of State in the president’s office Didymus Mutasa, the Martins’ farm was erronously taken from them and offered to Gudyanga

In a letter to the then Lands minister Hebert Murerwa seeking withdrawal of an offer letter from Gudyanga, Mutasa wrote: “Mr Martin is our member of Zanu PF from Mutasa district. We regret to have overlooked the matter and allocated his farm to Mr Gudyanga who is also a member of Zanu PF. This has caused serious discomfort within the local leadership in the district.

“We therefore request your good offices to withdraw Dr Gudyanga’s letter and allocate it to the sitting tenant Mr Martin. The governor of Manicaland Cde Mushowe has confirmed identification of a farm in Chipinge for Dr Gudyanga.

“This will be a better arrangement since no one will be deprived of his right as a Zanu PF member.”

But the withdrawal was never done in spite of more letters from Chief Mutasa, local district administrator and recently the acting district administrator.

Chief Mutasa, in a 2012 letter to Murerwa, pleaded that the Martins retain ownership of the remaining 660 hectares as “this was also recommended by the political party”, even stating that  a letter had been “signed by the honourable Cde DNE Mutasa and was handed over to your office.”

The then Mutasa district administrator, in a letter to the provincial lands committee, also backed Martin’s retention of his farm.

“This letter serves to confirm that the District Lands Committee in its meeting ... recommended Frank Thomas Martin, allocated the remaining extension of Five Streams Farm measuring 660 hectares,” read the letter.

Again the District Lands Committee recommended that Martin “continue with his farming activities,” according to a letter to the provincial chief lands officer written by the acting Mutasa district administrator.

All this, however, did not stop Gudyanga from claiming ownership of the farm on the strength of his offer letter. He has since been granted an eviction order which the Martins initially vainly tried to resist.  

Employing 150 permanent employees, running a primary school at the farm with an enrolment of over 1 600 pupils, running a Tennis Academy at the farm called Mantis Tennis Academy which benefits gifted children through scholarships, as well as supporting local farmers and Zanu PF members with farming inputs, has reinforced the Martins’  grass roots support, which has been instrumental in sparing their farm.  

Frank Martin said prior to the stay of eviction, their property was removed from their farm house.

“Riot squad and a messenger of court came in, loaded our furniture and everything in the house into trucks, took it up the road about a kilometre and dumped it out into the bush from where most of it was looted,” Martin said.

Comments (29)

Martins wamamirwa

Colonel Matambanashe - 26 September 2014

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GALLERYCARTRIDGES - 26 September 2014

Zim is now Mugabe's own private property and he is law onto himself . Infect he is now acting like god as he can move or not anyone from the properties they bought with hard earned cash .According to him only zanu supporters are zibabweans and must be protected by him although when he was sworn in as president he promised in front of the judge that he was going to serve this country with out bias but now yini lo ? Having gone to school in the 30s when education was at its lowest level we are not surprised at all , The old guy is a disaster to this country . We are praying to god daily never to give us again an idiot to lead us .

Diibulaanyika - 26 September 2014

White Man please remove your sanctions.....WE need your money.....but we will carry on stealing .....please look the other way.....(Story of the Indigenous Zimbabwean)

rudeboy - 26 September 2014

It is a shame that at this age we still have some people hallucinating about sanctions which never existed in this country .If we had sanctions then how come zanu officials are importing cars from Germany eg Chiyangwa ' S 400 000 DOLLAR CAR . But those who talk about none existing sanctions were bi witched by zanu .No sane person is still talking about this rubbish.

Diibulaanyika - 26 September 2014

Toiteiko isu ana dash dash 75------G50 pachitupa kkk. Although I respect Prof Gudyanga, ngawaende kuChipinge kkkk

Wasu - 26 September 2014

you need the law not mugabe to serve anyone

brakwacha - 26 September 2014

Dr Francis Gudyanga, formerly a Marist Brother at Kutama, is Kutama Old Boys Association(KOBA) who rule the land and do as they want. How can this former man of the cloth do this to an old couple? Ignatius Chombo, too, used to be in Kutama Church choir when he was training to be a lower primary school teacher(PTL), and Gudyanga used to teach us catechism when he was still the gentle Brother Francis. I just have no idea what happens to these guys when they have political power. Respect for human dignity just vanishes..

Chenjerai Hove - 26 September 2014

Where does the good Prof want an elderly couple to go. Surely at that age.Sometimes l am just lost for words, these people are animals.

Jackson Dube - 27 September 2014

Matimadii... They are ruing and in as much as the couple needed saving this just goes to show that the presidium ha power over the Judiciary which should not be the case. That is why the west is always referring to how there is no rule of law in this country. This is a mere Chieftaincy or fiefdom ruled by one family... you know who...

lovethynation - 27 September 2014

nhayi mwariwee tooneswa nhamo namugabe kusvika riiniko

idako - 27 September 2014

He is our ZanuPf member so what they mean is when another party comes into power it evicts zanupf supporters that is not how to run a country mhani, just say he is a good citizen period.

Maita Manyuka - 27 September 2014

So the farms are being allocated on the basis of one being a Zanu PF member and not a Zimbabwean?!

Professor of law - 27 September 2014

Nothing new on earth for sure. It is written: Micha 2vs 2 "They covet fields and take them by violence, Also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, A man and his inheritance."

TRUTH MATTERS - 29 September 2014

the commander in chief, the first secretary , the president, the head of state and government , the big calhuna, the big dhara, the wife grabber, the farm taker and giver, the prophet, the self chosen one ,

Harare - 29 September 2014

no need for the constitution we have mugabe here . oh and GRACE

Harare - 29 September 2014

That farm is going to be grabbed at some point.Remember its mugabe and not the law at play.Toita seiko nhai Mwari,Zvamakapa nyika yose kuna mugabe ko, yedu iripi/

Lutendo - 30 September 2014

Generally Mutasa is very undiplomatic

KM - 30 September 2014

lets not just take and grabe land the most important aspect is to view the progress on that land and trying to improve what is already there pliz dont pull the country back we still have hope

joze - 30 September 2014

Is it only last week when Bona grabbed a farm from a white elderly along Penhalonga Road? Why the double standards? Rest assured God is watching!

Johno - 1 October 2014

This is a noble thing that was done by the President.Land reform its not about race,colour or ethnicity.its all about working to achieve social justise.All are Zimbabweans and deserve a share of what rightful belongs to them.To Mr Magudya there are still many farms lying idle with your colleagues in government practising multiple farm ownership

carson Macate - 1 October 2014

unotoshaya kuti nyika ino chii chaizvo.

haya - 1 October 2014

haya wandisekesa. shuwa unoshaya shumo yazvo. tinonyarirepi nehudyire hwakadai? sera mamwe mazimba avakuzviita masouth africans. vanogona kutaura mutauro wejoni vasotitiza karekare.

sunga - 1 October 2014

Asi kana ndimiwo, kachembere kane 75 years kanodzidii 650 hactares? Ngakatikwanire, kachagona kusakura? Kuloader ivhu kudaro kunge tipper? Kuti 550ha + 225+ 660 kuita ma'thaza' evhu ese iwaya amwe anhu achirima dwala bare rock so. Hanzi 'evicted an elderly couple from Five Streams Farm..." Kuti zvisiririse ani? Kakabva Hingirandi nevhu ? After all hanti ndoyavakatamba chembere-dhara dzedu kuvadzingira kumaRuzevha. Hazvirovese hana izvozvo. He-e imember yedu what what...Nxa, Sinzi weni mhani. Nonsense!

Fairtalk - 2 October 2014

Zvirikumbofamba sei?

Obedience - 3 October 2014

Fairtalk dont be shallow minded.Since you chased away white farmers how much grain do we have to feed the country?

CLEARHEAD - 3 October 2014

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