By Charles Laiton
The Lands and Agriculture ministry has defended its decision to repossess the late former President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Robert Zhuwao’s farm in Zvimba, arguing the previous occupier allegedly abandoned the farm in 2011.
The justification for Zhuwao’s farm seizure was made by Lands ministry secretary John Bhasera in his affidavit in an attempt to discredit Zhuwao’s claims that he was still utilising the 232-hectare land offered to him under the land reform programme in 2004.
The farm in question is known as Plot 1 of Cockington in Zvimba District, in Mashonaland West province.
Bhasera’s response follows after Zhuwao recently filed an affidavit, seeking to convince the State not to withdraw his offer letter.
But Bhasera said the reasons given by Zhuwao for protecting his farm were far outweighed by the need to repossess the property.
“The respondent (ministry) followed due process in withdrawing the offer letter. The right to administrative justice was not violated because the applicant (Zhuwao) was given notice of intention to withdraw the offer letter in which reasons of withdrawal were given and a provision to make representations was made. The reasons for withdrawal at the end outweighed the representations made by the applicant,” he said.
Bhasera also raised some preliminary points and urged the court to deal with them first, saying they had the potential of resolving the matter without getting into the merits.
“The application was not served to the Attorney-General (AG). This is in violation of High Court Rule 43(B) which has the effect of making the application fatally defective. There should be proper service of the application to the Attorney-General,” Bhasera said, adding that Zhuwao had taken a fatally defective stance by making reference to a non-existent legislation in his application.
The matter is still pending. NewsDay