via Minister drags farmer to court | The Herald October 19, 2015
The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Douglas Mombeshora, is locked, in his official capacity, in a legal wrangle with a white commercial farmer over the ownership of a farm in Bulilima district.
The commercial farmer is allegedly refusing to vacate Boxwell Farm of McGee, which was acquired by the Government in terms of the Land Acquisition Act under the land reform programme.
Minister Mombeshora, through the Civil Division in the Attorney-General’s Office, last week filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order that compels Michael Norman Connolly to vacate his former property.
In the event that the order is granted in his favour, Minister Mombeshora wants Connolly to leave the farm within seven days and pay the cost of the lawsuit.
He said despite demand, Connolly has failed or refused to vacate the farm and make way for newly resettled farmers with offer letters from his ministry.
In the court papers, Minister Mombeshora is the plaintiff while Connolly was cited as the defendant.
“This is an action for the eviction of the defendant and all other persons who claim right and title through him from the farm known as Boxwell Farm of McGee in Bulilima district,” said Mombeshora.
Minister Mombeshora said Connolly’s refusal to vacate the farm was a violation of the Land Acquisition Act.
“In terms of the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act and in furtherance of the land reform programme, I, in my capacity as the authority in whom all agricultural land in Zimbabwe is vested, lawfully acquired for resettlement the farm from the defendant who is the former owner,” said Minister Mombeshora.
“The defendant does not have any legal basis to remain on the farm without my authority.”
Minister Mombeshora said beneficiaries have since been identified to occupy the farm.
“There are people who have been issued with offer letters which entitle them to move into the farm and settle there, but despite demand and the land having been lawfully acquired, the defendant has refused to make way for them,” he said.
Connolly has not yet filed a notice to enter an appearance to defend the summons. The commercial farmer has 10 days to file opposing papers with the Registrar of the High Court.