Sunday, 5 June 2016

RETIRED ARMY OFFICER DEFIES COURT ORDER, REFUSES TO LEAVE FARM

Retired Brigadier-General Charles Nhapata has been accused of ignoring a court order and refusing to vacate Earling Farm in Mvurwi more than one-and-half years after being ordered to do so by the High Court.

According to the plot owners, Maidei and Christopher Masawi, Nhapata forcibly occupied sheds and the main compound at plot 15 and 16 at Earling Farm “claiming that he was a soldier as well as a liberation fighter who is allowed to stay wherever he wants at any time he wants”.

As if trying to prove his point, the retired soldier has refused to budge despite several attempts to boot him out by the Deputy Sheriff.

Even the police itself, despite the existence of a court order instructing the law-enforcement agents to assist the Deputy Sheriff to have the retired brig-general evicted from the plots, have also joined the latter in refusing to abide by the court order.

Deputy Sheriff identified as P Chitofu indicated to Masawi’s family lawyer on April 8 this year that he had failed to be assisted by police to ensure Nhapata was evicted.

“Attempted ejectment, Zimbabwe Republic Police Mvurwi refused to assist the Deputy Sheriff,” Chitofu said in his entry on the return of service.

The latest attempt by the Deputy Sheriff to evict Nhapata was on Thursday last week when he approached Chief Superintendent Fiona Thlomani, who apparently refused to assist him and instead referred the court officials to Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri.

In his remarks on the return of service dated June 2 2016 and addressed to Mugiya and Associates, the Deputy Sheriff said: “Attempted ejectment, the Chief Superintendent [Thlomani] refused to assist the Deputy Sheriff and referred the matter to Commissioner-General of Police in Harare.”

On April 8 this year, Mvurwi police also refused to assist the Deputy Sheriff, rendering the court order by High Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni, a non-event.

On May 13, the Masawi family approached the High Court seeking an order compelling officer-in-charge at Mvurwi and Chihuri to assist the Deputy Sheriff to evict Nhapata from the plots.

The order by Makoni reads: “The second and third respondents [officer-in-charge Mvurwi and Chihuri] be and are hereby ordered to assist the 4th respondent [Deputy Sheriff] on adequate notice in the execution of the order in HC14342/12. The execution of the said order should be done without further notice to 1st respondent [Nhapata].

Sometime in December last year, Nhapata filed an urgent chamber application at the Supreme Court seeking to bar the Masawi family from evicting him from their plots, but Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku dismissed the application.

According to Maidei’s affidavit, she was, on December 4 2001, allocated Plot 15 and 16 Earling Farm together with her husband through an offer letter (Ref L/183) which was signed by then Lands, Agriculture and Rural Development minister Joseph Made dated December 4 2001.

She said problems started sometime in 2002 when Nhapata, who was also claiming ownership of some of the infrastructure on the land, came and forcibly occupied the sheds, and the main compound, leading to the current battle. standard

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