Ex-deputy minister, farmers in land row

Source: Ex-deputy minister, farmers in land row -Newsday Zimbabwe

ZANU PF central committee member and former Finance deputy minister Terence Mukupe has renewed efforts to evict more than 40 Goromonzi farmers from Mt Olympus Chishawasha B Farm where he wants to set up a housing scheme.

The A1 farmers have been living at the farm for more than 20 years with most of them in possession of government offer letters.

The farmers, who are also Zanu PF supporters, on Wednesday this week gathered at the farm singing and chanting slogans as they resisted imminent eviction after Mukupe dispatched land clearing equipment to the farm.

Mukupe yesterday said everything was above board

“That land is no longer farm land, but the government pegged it for urban expansion. We have all the necessary papers.

“There are about 37 people who are affected and we said we should build them four-roomed houses or [provide] cash as compensation,” he said.

In a letter addressed to the 40 farmers dated September 14 this year, Mukupe through his lawyers Chingeya-Mandizira Legal Practitioners, announced the looming subdivision of the area for residential purposes.

“On behalf of our client, Farmtel Private Limited, herein, being represented by Terence Mukupe, kindly note our interest as the conveyancers of this development.

“We wish to inform you as the current settlers of V-Gardner that all the necessary permits for us to develop the land as approved by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works are in place.

“We have obtained all the necessary permits for us to proceed with the development. As such our surveyor will commence physical operations on the mentioned piece of land on Friday 15 September 2023. The survey process will enable us to ascertain the affected houses, if any by the development,” the letter read.

The lawyers reiterated that Mukupe will compensate the farmers for their losses.

“Please note that all affected settlers will be catered for to avoid arbitrary loss through the provision of an alternative piece of planned land or accommodation,” the letter said.

Some of the victims this week travelled to the Zanu PF national headquarters in Harare to register their displeasure over the looming evictions.

A high-powered Zanu PF delegation led by Mashonaland East provincial party chairperson Daniel Garwe is expected to descend on Chishawasha today to resolve the impasse.

In an interview yesterday, Goromonzi North legislator Ozias Bvute said there was hope that the farmers would remain on their land.

“The confusing part is that the farmers have legal papers from the Lands ministry, while Mukupe is armed with papers from the Local Government ministry. We hope that there will be favourable solutions for the benefit of farmers,” he said.

Farmtel claims that it was allocated the farm in 2016 by the Local Government and Public Works ministry.

Chishawasha communal lands have been the target of land barons who have been parcelling out residential stands to homeseekers.

Farmtel Investments, was given 100ha in Chishawasha B, with other companies reportedly belonging to political heavyweights like Nettfields Investments (Pvt) Ltd and Mahlaba (Pvt) Ltd and Elephant Trust also getting a piece of the 2 848,77ha farm which lies along Arcturus Road.

In 2019, Mukupe failed to evict the farmers after Zanu PF officials intervened on their behalf.