The Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Mandi Mandiitawepi Chimene, is allegedly in the process of taking over a farm complex occupied by six individuals that include some members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
According to court papers, Chimene allegedly wants to take over the farm, which was seized a couple of years ago by the new occupants from the late Nyazura commercial farmer, Dolf Du Toit, and his wife, Alida.
The six run various businesses at the complex that include a butchery, grocery shop, church office and restaurant, among other activities.
In the Mutare Magistrates’ Civil Court documents, dated February 13, 2015, Mandi Chimene is cited as the second plaintiff in the matter. The first plaintiff is the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement.
The six defendants are Milton Munjengwa, Oliver Chinowaita, Jusa Showa, and two others identified only as Mrs. Moyo and Mr. Nechawawa, and Tapiwa Goora of Nyazura.
It is stated the court documents that the first plaintiff who’s the lands minister is the sole and exclusive holder of all rights, title and interest to all farm infrastructure at the gazetted land called Nyazura Farm, generally known as Nyazura Farm Complex.
The minister gave Chimene a lease agreement to use the farm, meaning that she now is the exclusive holder of all rights and interest to all farm infrastructure on the farm complex, rendering the six illegal tenants.
The summons state that all the defendants are now in unlawful occupation of the farm as they hold no offer letter, land settlement lease or permit and have “baselessly refused to vacate the farm buildings”.
Chimene has previously tried to evict the six to no avail resulting in the court action.
The six, who have said they intend to defend the eviction in court, will be fined US$550 if they don’t file opposing papers, according to the court documents.
Mutare lawyer Misheck Mugadza, who’s representing Chimene, says the Makoni South lawmaker has a right to use the property under a five-year lease.
Mugadza says the matter is likely to go for pre-trial on Friday, adding his client will use the farm to the benefit of the community.
The six defendants could not be reached for a comment Tuesday but former local legislator, Pishai Muchauraya, who also used to use the farm complex under dispute as a constituency office, said the move by Ms. Chimene borders on greediness.
Ms. Chimene could not be reached for comment on the matter as she was said to be busy attending some business issues.
This is not the first time that this farm has been under controversy. The former owners, Dolf and Alida Du Toit were once attacked by a mob, led by a Central Intelligence Organization imposter, Onisimas Makwengura, in 2011.
It is not yet clear how the six became tenants on the farm.