Land wars escalate as govt gazettes more farms for acquisition

via Land wars escalate as govt gazettes more farms for acquisition – NewsDay November 4, 2015

LAND wars have escalated in Zimbabwe after the government recently gazetted 23 farms, 18 of which are in Matabeleland, for resettlement of landless peasants, following another 198 that have been gazetted since 2011.

BY SILAS NKALA

The farms have since been allocated to their new owners amid physical confrontations and legal wars, with farm labourers throwing their weight behind their white employers against the new farmers.

According to the General Notice of 2015, land is being acquired lawfully in terms of Section 72 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“It is hereby notified that the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement acquires for and on behalf of the State, the land identified in the schedule for purposes of agricultural settlement under section 72 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” reads the notice.

“The ownership of the acquired land with full title therein vested in the State is with effect from the date of publication of this notice in the Government Gazette.”

Some of the farms which were acquired include Lot 6 and 7 of Maguga measuring 303,5140 and 303,5142 hectares respectively in Umzingwane district.

Other pieces of land acquired by the State in Umzingwane District are Springvale Estate measuring 1 355,0835 hectares registered under African Distillers Limited and Subdivision 14 Woodlands measuring 114,2303 hectares as well as Lot 7 of Kirtons Farm measuring 101,5774 hectares.

In Umguza district, five farms were also gazetted, including Umvutcha B measuring 316,2214 hectares, Lot 1 of Umguza Agricultural Lots of Umvutcha measuring 21,4843 hectares and Helenvale Block measuring 393,0028 hectares. In Matobo District, Lushongwe of Last View

(1 285,24 hectares), Matopo Vale
(202,7447 hectares) were also gazetted.

Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement minister, Douglas Mombeshora announced that the government acquired farms that were gazetted as part of the fast-track land reform programme which began in 2000.

“This is an ongoing programme which started in 2000 under the Land Reform. In fact, farms are acquired every day and redistributed because all agricultural land belongs to the state,” said Mombeshora.

The government claims over 300 000 households have benefited from the programme since 2000.

The allocation of Maleme Farm in Matobo District, Matabeleland South, owned by David Cunningham, torched the anger of communities from surrounding villages who had been benefiting from the farm through employment opportunities.

An official from the President’s Office identified as Rodney Mashingaidze tried to annex the farm, but was stopped after the intervention of Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko.

Cunningham had been given notice to stop operations on December 19, 2014 and prepare to hand over the property to a new owner in February.

Mashingaidze allegedly invaded the farm and took an inventory in the presence of the police declaring that the removal of anything from the farm would be considered theft.

Ebenezer employs over 60 locals, while 80 villagers into chicken farming are benefiting from the farm through a poultry out-grower scheme. The scheme operates through Maleme Farm and produces over 750 000 birds per year with each farmer earning annual profits of between $3 000 and
$12 000.

The farm currently supplies over 50% of Matabeleland’s layer birds to small-scale farmers, while its Shalom campsite provides training facilities for farmers under the Turning Matabeleland Green (TMG) programme.

Officials at the farm said to date 3 000 rural farmers had been trained.

Maleme Farm also supports Induna Primary School in the area. The local community, including churches, were strongly against the acquisition of Maleme Farm and circulated a petition to bar its takeover.

Recently, Mombeshora took a white commercial farmer, Michael Norman Conoly, to court seeking his eviction from Boxwell Farm of McGee in Bulilima District.

In a lawsuit filed on October 13 at the Bulawayo High Court, Mombeshora said he was suing Conoly in his capacity as the minister responsible for the administration of the Land Acquisition Act.

Mombeshora said the plaintiff lawfully acquired the land for resettlement.

He said the beneficiaries were identified after applying for land and were subsequently issued with offer letters.
“Despite demand and the land having been lawfully acquired, the defendant has failed or refused or neglected to vacate the farm and make way for the said new offer letter holders,” he said.

President Robert Mugabe’s deputy chief secretary, Ray Ndhlukula, in August 2015 invaded Centenary Farm, leading to the eviction of 75 people from the farm, some of whom had been staying at the property since the 1960s.

Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers Matabeleland chairperson Benedict Moyo was reportedly allocated Boxwell Farm, while one Ashton Ndlovu was allocated Banovallum Farm.

Ndhlukula was recently sentenced to 90 days in jail for contempt of court after he refused to vacate the farm as ordered by the High Court.

The Supreme Court, however, subsequently struck the case off the roll after establishing that Ndhlukula’s appeal had a technical fault.

On September 18, 2014 a government delegation visited Boxwell Farm and ordered Conoly to vacate Boxwell and Banovallum farms although they did not have offer letters.

In another case, Matobo South legislator Never Khanye (Zanu PF) was embroiled in a fight with Dave Waddy over Mhlahlandlela Mineral King Ranch after reportedly securing an offer letter.

Waddy runs a tourism attraction centre called Big Cave in Matobo District.

In February this year, Khanye lost a court battle against Waddy over the same farm after Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha ruled that he must not interfere with the farm operations.

Khanye, through officers from the lands ministry, invaded the ranch in violation of the court order.

Waddy then filed a High Court application seeking an interdict barring Khanye from settling on the ranch and on September 28, Justice Francis Bere upheld the February 20 judgment.

Justice Bere further ruled that the ministry erred by parcelling out Mhlahlandlela Ranch when it was not designated for resettlement.

He said the farm in question was not in an agricultural terrain and could, therefore, not be acquired under the Agricultural Land Acquisition Act.

Mugabe recently expressed anger over some 163 white farmers in Mashonaland East province still owning land and vowed that his administration would step up efforts to acquire the last remaining farms still in white hands.

The Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) estimates that there are between 300 and 400 white farmers remaining in the country compared to 4 500 in 2000.

The current wave of farm seizures is, however, concentrated in Matabeleland.

In 2014, Zanu PF-linked invaders seized a Bulawayo city council-owned farm and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa’s Ruby farm in Nyamandlovu.

CFU director Hendrik Olivier, said the crackdown was deliberately planned.

“It would appear that this is just more people who need farmland and they are just picking off the remaining couple of (white) farmers who have already lost land, but are fortunate enough to still be on a small piece of land. Now they are taking that away too,” said Olivier.

By his own admission, Mugabe, in a speech to mark his 91st birthday celebrations early this year, said the farms given to the new black owners were too large.

In 2011, Zanu PF’s Department of Land Reform, Resettlement and Agriculture recommended that the remaining 198 white-owned farms be gazetted for resettlement.

Manicaland had the biggest number of farms yet to be gazetted (106), followed by Matabeleland South (59) and Matabeleland North (17).

Mashonaland East had eight white-owned commercial farms, Masvingo (three), Mashonaland West (one) while Mashonaland Central had none.

As at 2011, about 424,24 hectares had been gazetted for urban expansion.

Over 223 former commercial farmers are under prosecution for failure to vacate gazetted land after the expiry date as required by the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act chapter 20:08 of 2006.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 9
  • comment-avatar
    Zambuko 7 years ago

    Grace.

    Robert?

    I see Douglas is finishing off some house cleaning.

    Yes dear.

    Are the farms going to the right people?

    Yes dear.

    Any of them have farming experience?

    Sugar?

    Just the one.

  • comment-avatar
    IAN SMITH 7 years ago

    95% of Zimbabwe is now barren land and powerless going as I predicted.

    As I said not in 1000 years.

  • comment-avatar

    These gangstas will NEVER learn.

  • comment-avatar
    Mlimo 7 years ago

    First chop all the trees down and sell it as firewood, second sell any remaining equipment, third take the roofs off any buildings and sell those, fourth graze the remaining vegetation with goats . End result another piece of the newest desert in the World called the great Zimbabwe desert.

  • comment-avatar
    Mugarbage 7 years ago

    These new acts of theft are a prelude to the next elections.
    As before, your gullible African will vote ZANU to receive the promised land.
    Immature black logic sees the golden eggs and is prepared to kill the goose. Zimbabwe is losing its greatest asset.

  • comment-avatar
    Johan 7 years ago

    Mugabe has now been stealing farms longer than Ian Smith ruled Rhodesia successfully – 15 years. What hypocrites the UN are to be still inviting this despot dictator to address them. He should be in the Hague explaining. Regards Johan

  • comment-avatar
    truth 7 years ago

    u are busy preaching about climate change while u are busy destroying the vegetation nxaaa poor land use planning votoona wachiwaka mumawetlands

  • comment-avatar

    A truly accursed nation! IDS seems to have been proved right. Never in a 1000 ………

  • comment-avatar
    ntaba 7 years ago

    This is the brilliant plan from Scoones and Mugabe. The country has been made into a garden of Eden by Scoones and Mugabe. The country is booming and the people are happy and wealthy. The country is now so advanced that the President does not have to even be in the country – he can travel abroad all the time. Scoones’ brilliant agricultural model can be run from a computer in Sussex. This is the world’s best agricultural economy and obviously the most democratic country on the planet. We are so blessed to have Scoones and Mugabe – their intellect is unparalleled in the world.