Farm dispute opens can of worms

Source: Farm dispute opens can of worms –Newsday Zimbabwe

THE land dispute between Zanu PF Hurungwe East legislator Chenjerai Kangausaru and a communal farmer Vincent Tendayi has opened a can of worms.

Kangausaru, who has been tussling with Tendayi over the occupation of Chitonga Farm, has since been convicted of fraud and will be sentenced today.

The farm’s former owner, a war veteran, Rex Chakwana, had apparently ceded it to both on different occasions.

According to a civil case, Kangausaru misrepresented to the Hurungwe lands committee that he had an offer letter.

The court, however, learnt that Kangausaru had two offer letters with different signatures. One of the offer letters was signed by former lands minister, Douglas Mombeshora, while his predecessor Joseph Made signed the other.

Kangausaru was arraigned before the courts on allegations of fraud and forgery with the court finding him guilty last month.

It has since been established that the dispute started as a civil matter before it spilled into the criminal court.

According to an affidavit dated November 24, 2021, titled: Chitonga Farm lands dispute, the Hurungwe district lands committee advised the provincial committee against Kangausaru occupying the farm.

Hurungwe district co-ordinator and lands committee chairperson Andrew Tizora signed the affidavit. Other committee members included Joseph Nyagweta (district lands officer), Joseph Serima (district war veterans chairperson) and Richard Ziki (then Hurungwe (Zanu PF district co-ordinating committee chairperson).

It further added that in 2014, the farm was re-planned into two subdivisions and Chakwana was allocated subdivision 1 with 262 hectares, while Mike Dube then a Zimbabwe National Army officer occupied subdivision 2 with 212 hectares.

“Around 2011-12, Chakwana left his plot and records obtained show that in 2013, he ceded subdivision 1 of Chitonga farm to Vincent Tendayi and later in 2014 Chakwana made an agreement with Chenjerai Kangausaru to be on the farm,” the report read.

“Tendayi resorted to legal action. He approached the national lands inspectorate that barred Kangausaru from occupying the farm.”

The lands committee said the dispute needed intervention.

“The Hurungwe district lands committee, having been seized with the matter, came up with recommendations (saying) the offer letter from Tendayi be withdrawn since the conditions of the offer letter had been violated by Chakwana. Also, the subdivision will be re-planned.”

The verification of offer letter of subdivision of Chitonga Farm, Hurungwe district dated January 4, 2022 by one C Magauze, then acting director in the ministry of Lands, gave Kangausaru the right to the disputed farm.

Chitonga Farm, a model A2 farm located in Karoi South, was gazetted in June 2001 and measures 474,20 hectares.