Minister named in land grab

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HARARE – Fortune Chasi, deputy minister of Justice, allegedly used his political power to block the police and the messenger of court from evicting farm invaders who illegally settled on a privately-owned farm in Mashonaland Central.

Alex Chatindo, owner of Plot 14 Esbank in Mazowe dragged Eneth Mudavanhu, Mhinduro Rushambwa, Leornard Dzakatira and Chipo Kangara to court for invading the property.

The court issued an order instructing the four to vacate the premises.

The messenger of court for Bindura said when they went to evict the settlers, they were met with stiff resistance from the occupants who confronted them stark naked.

“An attempt for evicting the above defendants from Plot 14 Esbank Mazowe was made by the messenger of court with the assistance from Marlborough Police Station,” said a letter from the messenger of court.

“The said defendants refused to comply with the court order in that they gathered and started shouting and were violent to the messengers while they were nude.”

The police officer who was assisting the messengers then called for help from Harare Central Police Station but still failed to evict them.

“The messengers together with the police’s assistance were called to report to Harare Central Police Station, they drove there and saw the commanding officer superintendent Chitekwe,” said the letter.

“Chitekwe informed the messengers that the station could not provide the messengers with any further assistance since he had received a call from MP (Fortune) Chasi who had instructed him not to assist with armed police officers giving a reason that the matter was politicised.”

Efforts to obtain comment from Chasi were fruitless yesterday.

The fight has sucked in government ministers and top police officers, as Chatindo seeks to reclaim the land.

In a letter addressed to Martin Dinha, minister of Provincial Affairs for Mashonaland Central and Douglas Mombeshora, the minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, as well as deputy police commissioner general Godwin Matanga, Chatindo maintains that he is the rightful owner of the disputed land.

“I am entitled to occupation (of the land) because I hold a genuine offer letter, issued in my favour by the government of Zimbabwe,” read part of the letter. The planting season is already upon us yet I can’t productively utilise my plot due to the actions of the illegal settlers.”

In his letter Chatindo says Chasi should not be involved in the matter as that was tantamount to breaking the law.

“It is inconceivable that an honourable legislator and deputy minister of government would do anything to undermine the laws that he swore to uphold and instead promote a breakdown of the rule of law,” Chatindo
said in the correspondence.

The fresh land seizures in Mashonaland Central are threatening the country’s agriculture sector, with the invasions risking slashing this year’s crop.

Several cases of ad hoc land seizures have been reported around the country as the landless are now demanding a share, while on the other hand the Lands ministry is currently carrying out an audit with the aim of repossessing idle land.

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