Three Mazowe farmers who were evicted from Teviotdale Farm in 2009 to pave way for former President Robert Mugabe’s Gushungo Holdings have approached the High Court seeking a reverse deal.
In their application they cited Mugabe, his wife Grace, Gushungo Holdings, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Lands and Home Affairs ministers Perrance Shiri and Obert Mpofu respectively and Chief Superintendents Nhubu and Kunene, as respondents.
In their joint declaration, the three farmers — Adonia Makombe, Sahungwe Hungwe and Nyika Chifamba — said they grabbed Lot 1A Teviotdale Farm in Mazowe District of Mashonaland Central Province at the height of the land reform programme in 2000 and were given government offer letters in 2009 before being kicked out by police on Mugabe’s orders in 2009.
The farmers said they had since discovered that the farm was given to Gushungo Holdings’ employees.
“First plaintiff (Makombe) was allocated sub-division 1 measuring 34,38 hectares, second plaintiff (Hungwe) was allocated sub-division two measuring 39,06 hectares and third plaintiff (Chifamba) was allocated sub-division two measuring 31,25 hectares,” they said.
“In removing plaintiffs from their plots the police were acting on the instructions of and for the benefit of second and third defendants (Mugabe and Grace). The first (Gushungo Holdings), second and third defendants have no rights over the land in question.”
The farmers said as a result of their unlawful removal and being barred from their plots, they suffered damages in the sum of $25 000 for Makombe, $7 000 for Hungwe and $7 000 for Chifamba, respectively.
“Plaintiffs claim is for eviction of first, second and third defendant and all persons claiming occupation through them from plots 1, 2, and 3 of Lot 1A Teviotdale Farm in Mazowe District,” they said, adding Mugabe and his wife should also pay compensation and cost of suit.
However, Matanga and his junior officers responded to the litigation arguing the farmers’ claim against the police had prescribed.
“From the plaintiff’s declaration…the alleged acts or omissions by the police or members of the police were committed or omitted to be done sometime in or before the year 2009. In essence, the cause of action against the fourth, sixth and seventh defendants (Matanga, Nhubu and Kunene) arose on or before the year 2009. It is thus fourth, sixth and seventh defendants’ submissions that the plaintiffs claim against them has prescribed in terms of Section 70 of the Police Act,” they said.
While all the other defendants have entered their appearance to defend notices and their pleas, Mugabe and his wife together with their firm alongside Shiri and Mpofu, have not responded to the litigation.
The matter is still pending.
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