|Chief Zvimba in land row with 150 farmers|
|Monday, 20 August 2012 00:00|
Innocent Ruwende Senior Court Reporter
among them resettled farmers at Lion Kopje Farm, who had their offer letters withdrawn to make way for the chief.
The wrangle has now spilled into the High Court as the new farmers are now seeking an interdict to stop Chief Zvimba and the police from forcibly evicting them from the farm pending the finalisation of matter.
West Governor Faber Chidarike, the district administrator and police officer commanding Mashonaland West Province, who are also cited as respondents in the case. Munangati and Associates law firm, which is acting for the resettled farmers, filed an urgent chamber application at the higher court last week.
Mr Ben Mutambu, who is representing 28 other resettled farmers, deposed an affidavit in which he says they were allocated land under the A1 land resettlement programme at Lion Kopje Farm in 2004. He argues that officials from the Lands Ministry had indicated to them on August 6 that they had to vacate by August 15 failure of which riot police would be dispatched. He says if they are to be moved, Chief Zvimba would have to follow the due process of the law of eviction adding that the notice of 10 days was unreasonable.
Mr Matumbu also argues that the farmers had been resident on the farm for 10 years and had build homes and had also done preparations for tobacco season which starts on September 1, by planting tobacco seed beds which have germinated.
“We had settled on the farm in 2001 although offer letters were then issued in 2004,” argues Mr Matumbu.
He says on August 5 this year, Chief Zvimba claimed to have received an offer letter, which allocated him Lion Kopje Farm, which incorporates all plots for the 31 resettled A1 farmers.
Chief Zvimba in 2006 tried to have Lion Kopje farm allocated to him but Minister Murerwa had told him that an A2 farm could not be carved out of Lion Kopje Farm as there would be not enough space.
“I have every reason to believe that 4th respondent (Chief Zvimba) has now used his political muscle to have the farm.
Chief Zvimba and his co-respondent are yet to file their response to the application set for hearing today before Justice Happias Zhou.