Friday, 29 December 2017

BISHOP : I LEFT THE FARM VOLUNTARILY

Bishop Manhanga confirmed that he withdrew voluntarily from the farm he had grabbed from Rob Smart to avoid confrontation when the farmer returned.

“I voluntarily moved off the farm to avoid confrontation and tension and in anticipation of the official communication. As of now I have not been served with an official letter of withdrawal.

I am a beneficiary of the land reform programme, and if the authorities decide to reallocate me another land to pave way for his return, I will abide by it. At this point I do not have other documentation apart from the offer letter that was given to me,” said Bishop Manhanga.
The other occupant, Chief Tandi said he was in the process of removing his property from the farm.

“That is the official position (Smart’s return) and I am currently engaging the relevant authorities to be assisted with alternative land and also to be allowed to continue working on the crop that I had planted till I harvest. I don’t mind being allocated another farm, all I want is farmland in my area. Government should guarantee a smooth transition because our relations are not good.

I was allocated land by Government, and I will continue to deal directly with the same authority to avoid confrontation,” said Chief Tandi.

 Smart was last Thursday escorted to the farm by Government officials to a glorious reception by farm workers and peasant farmers who fought from his corner to have the eviction halted. They opposed Mr Smart’s eviction saying he was supportive to the community and was born and bred at that farm.

“It feels good to be back. The eviction had reduced me to a beggar as I had to move from one friend to another for tenancy. This (Lesbury Farm) is my only home, and I have no other home, and nowhere to go. I was born and bred here, making this the only place I call home,” said Mr Smart.

He said President Mnangagwa’s new administration respects agricultural property rights.

“I am grateful to the new Government for reviewing my eviction and respecting agricultural property rights. I was treated unfairly, and I am grateful to President Cde Mnangagwa and our Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Monica Mutsvangwa for intervening to reverse my eviction. I am elated.


“The farm workers and community are elated. All the farm workers should immediately return and start work. I know they have been scattered, but they should return, I want all of them to resume work because we suffered together. We were in it together. They fought from my corner, they suffered for my return, and this victory, courtesy of the new administration, belongs to all of us,” said Smart.

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