Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya has taken Government to the High Court challenging the compulsory acquisition of his farm in Rusape for resettlement. Dr Mangudya bought Inyamasitza Farm in Makoni District in December 2000 from a white farmer, but Government compulsorily acquired the farm in violation of the Constitution and the land reform policy, which protects indigenously-owned farms from acquisition. Under the land reform programme, four farmers were allocated the same piece of land.
In the application filed at the High Court on April 7 this year, Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Dr Douglas Mombeshora was listed as a respondent. In his founding affidavit, Dr Mangudya said the acquisition of his farm was erroneous and that the court must order its immediate reversal.
“I am advised that it is contrary to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Government’s land reform policy and first respondent’s (minister) policy on resettlement to acquire indigenous owned farms for purposes of agricultural resettlement.
“After various consultations with first respondent’s officials, I am further advised that the acquisition of applicant’s piece of land is not desirable by the State and was done in error, hence the need for this honourable court to issue an order reversing such acquisition,” he said.
Dr Mangudya said he was a serious farmer with a track record of productive farming for the development of the nation and that the court should rule in his favour. “As an indigenous Zimbabwean with a genuine track record of carrying out large scale farming activities in the national interest, I hereby appeal to this honourable court that an order be granted in terms of the draft,” he said.
The Attorney-General’s civil division filed a notice of opposition to Dr Mangudya’s application, but in a U-turn, Minister Mombeshora deposed an affidavit confirming Dr Mangudya as the legitimate owner of the farm. Minister Mombeshora admitted that Government had erroneously acquired the land.
“Consequently, such land was then acquired in error in violation of the policy aforesaid. “In the circumstances of this case, the first respondent considers that the land in question is indigenously owned by the applicant,” he said. He said he had no objection to the acquisition of the land being lifted.
“First respondent has no objection to the acquisition of the land in terms of section 16B (2) (a) of the former Constitution being lifted on the basis that at the time the farm was gazetted for acquisition, the acquisition was inconsistent with the purpose and intent of Se4ction 16A of the former Constitution, which sought to benefit indigenous people who had been previously disadvantaged under colonialism,” he said. The minister said the other four farmers who had been issued with offer letters for the farm, will be allocated alternative land elsewhere.
The court is yet to rule on the matter. herald