Chief Zvimba embroiled in land wrangle with over 150 people
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CHIEF Zvimba, Stanley Mhondora, is embroiled in an acrimonious land wrangle with more than 150 people, among them resettled farmers at Lion Kopje Farm, who had their offer letters withdrawn to make way for the chief.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.
The land dispute has also sucked in Lands and Rural Resettlement Minster Herbert Murerwa, Mashonaland 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.
They want time to proceed with cropping while they build new homes at Wix Wichen Farm, which they say is a forest.
"We had settled on the farm in 2001 although offer letters were then issued in 2004," argues Mr Matumbu.
"I occupy Plot number 28 which was six hectares of farming land and additional 14 hectares for grazing. The same scenario characterises the other applicants and the rest of 28 farmers.
"On August 4, 2012, I received a notice of withdrawal of my offer of land at Lion Kopje Farm and subsequently received an offer letter that offered me land elsewhere."
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.
Mr Mutambu submits that he did not see the alleged offer letter although the district administrator and Chief Zvimba say the latter has an offer letter. He further says 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.
"I intend on my behalf and on behalf of other 28 families to challenge the 1st respondent (Minister Murerwa) as regards how he reneged on the initial position thereby prejudicing over 150 persons who comprise resettled families to accommodate one person the fourth respondent," he argued.
Chief Zvimba and his co-respondent are yet to file their response to the application set for hearing today before Justice Happias Zhou.
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