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US$200 000 up in smoke as Cheza is evicted


US$200 000 up in smoke as Cheza is evicted



MVUMA – High Court Judge, Justice Garainesu Mawadze has thrown out Patrick Cheza, a businessman and former CCC candidate for Chirumhanzu South’s appeal to have his eviction from S/D 43 Mahara Farm, Ward 16 Mvuma where he made capital investments of US$200 000 set aside.
Cheza told Justice Mawadze at the High Court in Masvingo that of the 61 farmers settled at the same scheme, he is the only one who is being evicted. He said he was told that his eviction from the 125-hectare farm is to clear way for members of the Joint Operations Command, a structure that includes, the Army, Police and Central Intelligence.
Cheza pleaded for an order to stop the Minister of Lands Agriculture and Fisheries from evicting him arguing that apart from being lawfully settled, he built green houses at the farm, sunk boreholes, installed a solar power system, has 105 cattle, 136 goats of an expensive breed, 56 sheep and employs 50 workers whose only source of livelihood is the farm.
Cheza was represented by Nyasha Maguranyanga of Mutendi,Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practitioners.
Analysts told The Mirror that the fact that Cheza is the only one being evicted by the Minister points to a disturbing fact that Zanu PF could be weaponizing the Land Act to victimize and harass opponents.
Cheza was arrested and detained for several weeks during the August 2023 elections.
The Constitution says all agricultural land belongs to the State and hence the President. This means the President can withdraw land from anyone anytime including those with title deeds as and when he desires.
“There is no security of land tenure in this country whether one has title deeds or not. The President can gazette any piece of land and evict those settled there, it doesn’t matter whether its communal, resettlement or commercial farms.
“In the case of resettlement it is just a question of withdrawing the offer letter and the land is taken over. No one owns land in Zimbabwe, no one has right to land in spite of the fact that people went to war to fight for the land.
“If you get a vindictive party in power the land can be used to harass, victimize and cow opponents. In addition corrupt politicians can evict people from their land and give it to those that they like. This is very possible in areas that are close to towns where the demand for residential stands and town expansion is high. Land may be taken from the legitimate owners and given to friends to subdivide and sell as residential stands.
“The media must watch closely the evolving evictions and the intentions,” said an analyst.
Summarising his judgment, Justice Mawadze said that the land issue in Zimbabwe has become very emotive.
“The land disputes in our country have remained a vexing and at times a very emotive subject,” said Justice Mawadze in the opening line to his judgment.
He said Cheza’s eviction can only be stopped by the Minister himself and told Cheza to approach the Minister. He said the court found no merits in Cheza’s case in that he did not have any legitimate documents needed for him to have rights over the land.
“No person may use or occupy gazetted land without a permit, offer letter or a land settlement lease,” said Justice Mawadze.
Cheza however, said he had a letter called A confirmation of Land Occupation authored by the District Lands Officer for Mvuma. Justice Mawadze said this letter was nothing under the law.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands Obert Jiri told The Mirror in an interview that Cheza did not have an offer letter from his ministry and added that the farm is already allocated to other people.
He said that Government was not going to compensate him for the developments he made on the farm.

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