Tuesday, 26 February 2019

MY FARM WAS NOT INVADED : WHITE CHIPINGE FARMER

THERE are no new farm invasions in Zimbabwe and a Chipinge incident which went viral on social media recently was an exaggeration of a misunderstanding between a commercial farmer and a new farmer.

The incident occurred on February 16 at Farfell Estate in Chipinge where Mr Richard Le Vieux and Mr Remembrance Mbudzana had a misunderstanding over part of the land which had been allocated to the latter.

Mr Mbudzana was offered the land after the first beneficiary Chief Aeneas Mapungwana had the farm repossessed by Government for failing to occupy the land.

The farm was repossessed and re-allocated to Mr Mbudzana. Chief Mapungwana was offered subdivision 7 of Lot 1 of Gungunyana in Chipinge.

During the eight years, The Herald is reliably informed that the land was being utilised by Mr Le Vieux who had made a deal with the chief.

Mr Le Vieux recently confirmed that his farm was not under invasion.

“There is no farm invasion. It is only a misunderstanding. Government is assisting to correct the anomaly. Currently there are processes taking place and it is too early for me to comment but will be able to do so soon,” he said.  

Mr Le Vieux said he did not have any problems with Mr Mbudzana. Documents in The Herald’s possession show that Farfell Farm was previously owned by Farfell Coffee Estate and measured 526 hectares.

It consisted of two farms; Lot 1 of Lot 1 measuring 229 hectares and Lot 2 measuring 297 hectares.  Both farms were gazetted on June 22, 2002.

With the progression of the land reform, Lot 1 was allocated to Chief Aeneas Mapungwana in 2009. Lot 2 was not formally allocated to anyone. Mr Le Vieux continued using the farm but without an offer letter or any form of title to that land. 

Mr Mbudzana said Chief Mapungwana and Mr Le Vieux entered into a fraudulent deal to have Lot 1 of Lot 1 issued to the chief. In reality all the land was being used by Mr Le Vieux in exchange of money and other goods.

On December 3, 2018, Government withdrew the offer letter it had given Chief Mapungwana.

“Notice is hereby given that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement intends to withdraw the offer of land made to you in respect of subdivision whole measuring 229 hectares of lot 1 of Lot 1 of Farfell Farm in the District of Chipinge in Manicaland province. The reason for the withdrawal is you have not taken up occupation ever since you were allocated in 2009.

“You were supposed to take up personal and permanent residence on the farm upon your acceptance of the offer within 30 days of receipt or you were supposed to appoint a manager to personally and permanently take up residence on the farm within three months of your acceptance of offer.

“Since more than eight years have lapsed without you taking occupancy of the farm, I therefore deemed it necessary to withdraw your offer letter,” read the letter.

Mr Mbudzana was then offered the farm on January 10, 2019.

In the incident circulating on social media, Mr Mbudzana said he visited the farm to see boundaries but was surprised that the white farmer was not cooperating when they had initially discussed the issue before. 

“There was no intention to invade the farm but we were just visiting the farm so we could see the farm boundaries. I have an offer letter for the 229 hectares and I have to occupy it within 30 days but Mr Le Vieux sent his workers who are of the Mozambican origin to attack us.

“He also fired shots. How can six men invade a farm. We were in the company of Ministry officials and police,” he said.

“I was shocked by the defaming posts on social media. They are defaming the country. I had applied for land in 2013 and had got an offer letter and was celebrating that I got land.” Herald

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