Minister in farm dispute with villagers

Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba is embroiled in a land dispute with Mutasa villagers whom she is accusing of occupying her farm.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

The villagers appeared before a Mutasa magistrate court yesterday facing charges of occupying a gazetted piece of land without authority.

Representatives of the villagers, Betty Rongai, Nelson Mukuchu, Cosmas Nyawasha and Bernard Hondo are denying the allegations.

The villagers, who are being represented by Chris Ndlovu from Gonese and Ndlovu legal practitioners, were remanded out of custody to November 2, by magistrate Innocent Bepura.

The complainant in the matter is the State represented by Brighton Mukupe from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement.

It is the State’s case that on July 29 , 2004, Gwaradzimba was allocated Subdivision 1 and 2 of Inonzi Extension by then Presidential Affairs minister responsible for land, Didymus Mutasa.

The State allege that from 2014 to date, the accused persons without a lease, permit or offer letter issued by the government, occupied the land, disrupting farming activities.

The villagers were on several occasions ordered by the Ministry of Lands to vacate the land but they resisted.