Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Minister, villagers wrangle over land

By Mercy Ngwebvu

NYAZURA – Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Mandi Chimene, is locked in a land dispute with six Nyazura families she is trying to evict to pave way for “constituency development”. 

Mandi Chimene
Mandi Chimene

Chimene who is represented by Mr Hugo Tanaya of Mugadza, Chinzamba and Partners Legal Practitioners and the Nyazura families represented by Ms Memory Mandingwa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights appeared before Mutare magistrate, Mrs Anniah Ndiraya, with the Minister filing for the eviction of the families.

One of the defendants, Mr Oliver Chinowaita told the court that Chimene’s move was an unfair one because they had spent the better part of their lives in the area and had placed sentimental value on it.

“I do not understand why we are being evicted from our homes. They want me to leave my home of many years and I really feel it is unfair because that house carries some sentimental value to me. This whole thing is a thorn in my flesh and I feel victimised. Why did she not say anything when Mr du Toit was still alive,” he said.

Mr Tanaya, however, emphasised that the defendants had no right to be staying there and had to vacate the area.

Said Mr Tanaya: “You need to understand that the court is not here to ascertain whether or not this eviction is fair, rather it is there to ensure that the eviction is carried out in the proper manner. You have no right to be there and you just have to leave.”

The other defendant, Mr Juicer Showa told the court that the estate executor, one Mr Lunt from Holland and Redfern had stopped accepting rentals from them because he was politically threatened when the land wrangle began.

“This whole argument started just after du Toit’s death when we started dragging each other to court. The Minister is saying she wants to use the land on which our homes were built for constituency development, but she hasn’t started developing her own Makoni offices.

“I can’t stop wondering how she will develop the area when there are houses which we already pay utility bills for. I think she is just trying to use her political muscle to grab that which is not hers.

“Mr Lunt stopped taking our rentals saying he could only resume doing so after this court’s ruling. I want to believe that he was threatened politically to have nothing to do with us because he is white,” said a dejected Mr Showa.

This was, however, dismissed by Mr Tanaya as mere speculation because Mr Showa was never told by Mr Lunt that he had been threatened, let alone seen him being threatened as he was claiming.

The area in dispute was once owned by a white farmer Mr Rudolph du Toit who acquired the farm in 2001. The case was adjourned to October 8. Manica Post