‘Mugabe nephew’s farm grab lawful’

THE government has justified its decision to repossess the late former president Robert Mugabe’s nephew Robert Zhuwao’s Zvimba plot, arguing the process was lawfully done.

Zhuwao, who is accused of abandoning the farm since 2011, told the court that the 232-hectare land was offered to him under the land reform programme in 2004. He denied the State’s claim that he had not been utilising the farm.

However, in a court affidavit, the Lands ministry permanent secretary, John Bhasera, said the reasons given by Zhuwao in seeking to convince the State not to withdraw his offer letter were far outweighed by the need to repossess the property.

“The respondent followed due process in withdrawing the offer letter. The right to administrative justice was not violated because the applicant 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,” Bhasera said.

In his application, in which he cited Lands minister Perrance Shiri, in his official capacity as a respondent, Zhuwao said his decision to approach the court came after his offer letter was withdrawn in April last year.

“On the 9th of December 2004, I was offered subdivision 1 of Cockington in Zvimba District, in the province of Mashonaland West which is approximately 232,81 hectares in extend.

“The offer was made in terms of the Agricultural Land Resettlement Act Chapter 20:01. I accepted the offer and a clear contractual agreement between the ministry of Lands Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement and myself,” Zhuwao said.

He said subsequent to the April 2019 communication, he was shocked to receive another letter on October 16, last year notifying him of the immediate termination of his offer letter.
He, however, argued that the reasons for cancellation were based on a fabrication.
He also said that only President Emmerson Mnangagwa had the powers to revoke offer letters hence the need for the court to deal with the matter.
The matter is still pending before the High Court.

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