Tendai Kamhungira 11 March 2018
HARARE – A trust for the late Ndabaningi Sithole is seeking a court order
declaring the acquisition of the politician’s Chulu Farm illegal, null and
This is after it filed a High Court application demanding compensation for
the nationalist’s farm, which was compulsorily acquired by government in
The application comes at a time President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised
his government would compensate former white commercial farmers who lost
their land during the country’s bloody land reform programme that took
place in the early 2000s.
In the application, yet to be finalised by the High Court, but filed at
least two years ago, the Freedom Farm Trust cited Lands minister, (now
headed by Perrance Shiri), Local Government minister, (now under July
Moyo’s purview), the Harare City Council and the master of the High Court
According to court papers, the Trust was formed to hold property including
land, houses, investment and all intellectual properties owned by the late
“During his lifetime, the late reverend Ndabaningi Sithole owned
Subdivision `C’ of Subdivision `A’ of the farm `The Rest’ also known as
Chulu Farm in the outskirts of Harare.
“Sometime in 1993, the government of Zimbabwe sought to compulsorily
acquire Chulu Farm on the basis that the late . . . Sithole had resettled
landless Zimbabwean thereon.
“The compulsory acquisition was done for purposes of donating the land to
the ministry of Local Government Rural and Urban Development. This
ministry would give the land to the third defendant (Local Government
minister),” the court heard.
Following the acquisition of the land, the government issued a notice in
October 1993, for people to evacuate Chulu Farm.
Since the eviction of the people, the land has been lying idle, the court
“Despite the purported compulsory acquisition of the Chulu Farm by the
first and second defendant (Lands and Local Government minister) no
compensation was paid to the late reverend Ndabaningi Sithole. A
compulsory acquisition of land without payment of compensation is illegal,
null and void and is tantamount to theft and robbery.
“The value of compensation for both land and improvements on the land is
$140 000 000. Because the late reverend … Sithole was a black indigenous
Zimbabwean he is entitled to full compensation for both the land and
improvements in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” the court heard.
The Trust is now seeking an order for the acquisition of the farm to be
declared illegal, null and void and be declared property of the estate
In its response to the summons, however, the Lands ministry has said the
acquisition of the farm was lawful and remains valid.
“Plaintiff’s compensation figure of $140 million is not supported by any
“It is a thump suck figure which cannot be accepted by defendant or the
court. Second defendant’s valuers will provide a properly assessed
“It is not true that the farm is lying idle. Plaintiff would have saved
itself costs by engaging first and second defendants for a settlement
first before approaching the courts,” the court was told.
The matter is still to be determined by the High Court.