Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has ordered investigations into the eviction of a Chinhoyi farmer, Mr Gary Bruce Hensman, from Gyppslander Farm.
The OPC has asked the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to investigate allegations that a Government official within the Ministry of Lands, Water and Rural Resettlement deliberately withheld an offer letter addressed to the permanent secretary of the same ministry communicating decisions of the Mashonaland West provincial lands committee recommending the allocation of Gyppslander Farm to Mr Hensman.
The office urged ZACC to also investigate other acts of corruption related to the issuance of offer letters for a number of farms.
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement has been further directed to resolve the allocation of Gyppslander Farm, taking into account recommendations of the Mashonaland West provincial lands committee of April 2019.
In a statement on Thursday, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda said: “The eviction of Mr Hensman was the ultimate culmination of a High Court process in which Hensman’s legal practitioners consented to the judgement that consequently led to his eviction from the said farm.
“The reference for the High Court order in question is case Number HC8798/18.
“Mr Hensman’s eviction was not a Government-sponsored, racially-motivated or land invasion as depicted on social media and in various fora by sections of some Zimbabweans both at home and in the Diaspora.
“The Government’s policy on land allocation is premised on a non-racial and non-partisan basis. The current situation on Zimbabwean farms vindicates the Government on this fact.
“The Office of the President and Cabinet has received reports to the effect that the manner in which Mr Hensman was evicted, though driven by a legitimate High Court order, was carried out in a manner that went beyond the bounds of lawfulness, with property belonging to Mr Hensman being vandalised and some of it stolen.”
The Office of the President and Cabinet, he said, has launched an inquiry into this matter and would like to inform the public that the eviction of Mr Hensman was the ultimate culmination of a High Court process in which Hensman’s legal practitioners consented to the judgement that consequently led to his eviction from the said farm.”
Dr Sibanda said those found to have perpetrated any offence will be brought to book.
“The Government of Zimbabwe does not condone lawlessness, be it on our farms or anywhere else in the country,” he said.
The new political administration believes in an inclusive society that does not countenance racial discrimination, and is working with white former commercial farmers to see how they can contribute to the development of the country.
President Mnangagwa has since said white former commercial farmers who lost farms through land redistribution were free to take part in agricultural development through various contributions that can help enhance productivity.