via Centenary farm ‘British’ invader backs down – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 23, 2015
The tug-of-war between Centenary farmer Philip Rankin and Zimbabwean-born British citizen Sylvester Nyatsuro, who is allegedly trying to wrest an over 100-hectare farm in Mashonaland Central, appears to be waning, NewsDay has learnt.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Nyatsuro, a medical doctor, is reportedly behind a bid to invade Rankin’s tobacco farm allegedly using his connections to President Robert Mugabe’s family to evict the owner.
Rankin has tenaciously fought back, declaring: “I will not be pushed out of my land by a British passport holder.”
But Nyatsuro appears to be backing down, with the tobacco farmer yesterday saying he had of late been allowed in and out of his property after just less than two weeks of being held “hostage by Nyatsuro’s agents”.
Rankin said the invaders seemed to have eased a bit.
“The acrimony seems to be receding. They have, in last few days, allowed me in and out of the property. Some of the locks are still there, but others have been removed. The number of invaders has also gone down to about eight from the original 30,” he said.
Pressure has been mounting on Nyatsuro, with a group in the United Kingdom lobbying for his deportation and an investigation into how he acquired British citizenship.
Commercial Farmers’ Union director, Hendrick Olivier told NewsDay his organisation has been lobbying government officials on behalf of the stricken farmer.
“We have been doing a lot of lobbying, trying to get him to meet the minister (of Lands Douglas Mombeshora) or even the Vice-President (Emmerson Mnangagwa),” Olivier said without elaborating.
He said the group had been disturbed by information filtering through that more farmers could be on the verge of losing their land in Mashonaland East.
“We have received information from Mashonaland East that at least three farms are under siege, with one farmer having been barricaded in his homestead. But we managed to free him, but the invaders are still camped on the farm,” the CFU director said.