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Farm swap deal backfires for farmer

By Mashudu Netsianda

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Chief Air Marshal (Retired) Perrance Shiri, has been taken to court by a brother to Special Advisor in the Office of the President on Disability Issues,  Joshua Malinga, over a botched farm swap deal.

Perrance Shiri being sworn in as the new minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement
Perrance Shiri being sworn in as the new minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement

Malinga’s brother, Mr Leonard Malinga, through his lawyers, Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, has filed a court application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an eviction order against Mr Allen Sibanda from Roscomon Farm Unit 25 in Marula, Plumtree. He is accusing Mr Sibanda of refusing to vacate the farm following their botched swap agreement.

In papers before the court, Leonard cited Mr Sibanda and Minister Shiri as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Leonard wants an offer letter granted to Mr Sibanda by Minister Shiri to be declared null and void.

“This is an application seeking the nullification of an offer letter to first respondent (Mr Sibanda) by second respondent (Rtd Chief Air Marshal Shiri) and also the eviction of first respondent and all those claiming occupation through him from Roscomon Farm Unit 25 in Marula,” he said.

Leonard said he entered into a 99 year lease agreement with the Government to occupy the disputed farm.

“The lease agreement runs from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2098,” he said.Leonard said sometime in 2006, he decided to swap his property with Mr Sibanda who had a lease agreement in respect of Unit 12 of the farm.

The two men were however, later advised by officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Resettlement that the offer letters were granted in error and therefore invalid.

“I then advised the first respondent that I intended to get back to my farm since our swap agreement was wrong and a nullity at law and that he should vacate my farm,” said Leonard.

He said Mr Sibanda refused to comply. Leonard said Mr Sibanda pulled down a homestead, dismantled water tanks and destroyed engine houses and a fowl run at the farm in violation of the swap agreement. Mr Sibanda has not yet responded to the application. The Chronicle