Court orders minister off grabbed farm

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s High Court has ordered Local Government deputy minister Christopher Chingosho who has invaded a Makoni farm to vacate the land or face eviction by the police.

In her ruling, Judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo last week declared the farm invasion unlawful and ruled that the deputy minister must leave the property.

United States-based resident Sarayi Nyamuswa had appealed to the court to declare the invasion illegal and back an order for the deputy minister to leave the farm.

Chingosho reportedly invaded the farm with the assistance of at least 200 Zanu PF youths.

According to court papers, Sarayi and Mabel Nyamuswa, who were represented by Nyasha Munetsi from Tendai Biti Law, are the applicants.

They cited Manicaland State Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene, Chingosho, Phineas Koro, Innocent Magutakuona, Vindex Mhuruyengwa, Timothy Nyamubika and one (Mr) Tsanga, as respondents.

However, during the hearing, it was discovered that Chimene was not involved in the invasion of the farm, resulting in an order being handed only against Chingosho and the other Zanu PF supporters.

According to court papers, Mabel is the manager at the farm which belongs to Sarayi.

The court heard that the applicants are the lawful occupiers of Subdivision 55 and 54 of Wensleydale Estate in Makoni District of Manicaland Province in terms of an offer letter dated September 12, 2008.

“The applicants have been in peaceful and undisturbed possession of the property since 2008.

“The respondents, on July 29, 2017, made and carried out threats to deprive the applicants of her property at a gathering attended by at least 200 youths near the applicants’ farms.

“The applicants have been forcibly removed and deprived of occupation of the premises by the respondents,” the court heard.

The Nyamuswas said that they have valuable crops under cultivation as well as livestock that stand to be destroyed by acts of theft, fire, plundering and unlawful appropriation of the property by the acts of the respondents.

“The applicants have sought assistance from the police force in the district of Makoni to no avail.

“The applicants pray for a prohibitory order against the respondents and all who claim ownership through barring them from the farm.

“In the alternative, the applicants pray for a spoliation order against the respondents and all who deprive authority from the respondents, restoring possession of the farm to the applicants,” the court heard.

According to Mabel, the farm employs eight people.

“The applicants are also part of the Command Agriculture programme by the government to produce maize crop and deliver the produce to government.

“The maize that was harvested from the last harvest season is at the farm and has yet to be delivered to the government offices in terms of the agreement we entered with the government.

“We stand to be in breach if this harvest is left to the respondents and their agents who appear bent on appropriating everything on our farm,” Mabel said.

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