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56 farmers evicted

by Staff reporter
20 Mar 2021 at 07:05hrs | Views
FIFTY-SIX farmers resettled in Makoni District have been left in a quandary after the High Court ruled that their occupation of Nyamatsanga Farm is illegal as the farm belongs to an indigenous Zimbabwean.

The farmers were resettled under A1 and A2 models in 2003 on the 529-hectare farm which is in Ward 19.

However, the owners of the farm — Carthouse Enterprises (Private) Limited — which is reportedly owned by a Mr Mlambo, has title deeds to the farm.

Last year, Justice Joseph Mafusire ruled that Carthouse is the legal owner of the farm.

Carthouse has since approached the Rusape Civil Court seeking the eviction of the resettled farmers and so far, two default judgments have been granted.

In its court papers filed at the court, Carthouse argued that the resettled farmers are refusing to vacate the farm despite a written demand issued in October 2020.

"At all relevant times until it was listed for acquisition under the re-distribution programme, Carthouse was the owner of the farm.

"On May 16, 2003, the Plaintiff was issued with a Preliminary Notice of Acquisition of the above-mentioned piece of land and the farm was incorporated into the schedule to the old Constitution in terms of Amendment Number 17 as acquired land.

"On January 28, 2016, the Plaintiff filed an application at the High Court seeking an order delisting the farm from being State land. In July 2020, the High Court declared the preliminary notice to compulsorily acquire the above-mentioned property and its subsequent compulsory acquisition null and void for want of compliance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe following an application by the Plaintiff challenging the same acquisition.

"This consequently restored the rights of ownership, use and enjoyment of the above mentioned property to the Plaintiff," read part of Carthouse's application.

The application further reads: "The Defendants are in occupation of the property without the Plaintiff's consent and have refused, neglected, or failed to vacate the farm despite the Plaintiff's written demand to them on October 13, 2020 to have vacated the property by October 31, 2020."

One of the affected resettled farmers and area councillor, Alderman Steven Makoni, said they are doubting the authenticity of Carthouse's title deeds and will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the issue is addressed.

"We were shocked to see someone coming to claim ownership of the farm almost 20 years after we had been legally resettled here. We are not squatters because all due processes were followed before we were resettled here.

"We are waiting for a response from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement and Makoni Rural District Council for a way forward. We have been thrown between a hard surface and a rock because we cannot just abandon all the investments we did over the last 20 years," said Alderman Makoni.

Source - manicapost