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Sheriff accused of dereliction of duty

24 Nov 2020 at 04:35hrs | Views
THE Deputy Sheriff of Bulawayo Nathaniel Bhunu has been accused by the Anglican Province of Central Africa Church Diocese of Matabeleland of abandoning the eviction of illegal settlers at Cyrene Farm in Figtree.

This is despite that the deputy sheriff 's officers on November 10 evicted about 12 families from the church-owned farm. However, the evictions have since been halted.

About 52 illegal settlers are targeted to be removed from the farm. Church authorities say after the November 10 evictions, the following day, the deputy sheriff officials became evasive and abandoned the evictions on the pretext that they intended to communicate with some of the evictees.

A church official, who spoke to the Southern Eye, said Bhunu asked them to buy fuel for police cars for more than US$100, as well as lunch for police officers at a cost of US$70, but later they abandoned the evictions without giving reasons.

"This is a serious scandal by the State. The sheriff has now run away with no explanation, while the community has approached the court seeking to stop the evictions. On the other hand, another group is seeking engagement with the church," he said preferring not to be named.

Bhunu declined to comment and referred the Southern Eye to their Harare-based media relations department.

"On that one, I can't comment, I can only refer you to our spokesperson in Harare," Bhunu said.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from the office of the sheriff in Harare were fruitless as Southern Eye was continuously referred from one officer to another.

Over 500 illegal settlers have occupied Cyrene Farm since 2003 with the church's efforts to evict them hitting a brickwall despite having been granted an eviction order by the High Court in 2003.

Of late, the farm was hit by new invasions, prompting the church authorities to seek the reinstatement of the high court eviction order against the settlers.

Source - newsday
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