Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
The High Court has ordered a group of demonstrators off Springvale Farm in Karoi and declared former Mashonaland West Zanu-PF chairman Mr Temba Mliswa as the lawful occupier.Justice Chinembiri Bhunu yesterday granted an application by Mr Mliswa seeking the eviction of the group with the consent of all the lawyers involved.
Part of the group included Zanu-PF leaders in Mashonaland West Province Cdes Nigel Murambiwa, Chinjayi Kumbuzuma, Tapiwa Masenda and Silas Chimbiro.
Officer-in-Charge Karoi Police Station and the Minister of State for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement were cited as respondents in their official capacities.
Justice Bhunu ordered the group to vacate the farm premises and directed them to surrender to Mr Mliswa some keys and locks to the yard, a restaurant, homestead and service station located at the farm.
Harare lawyer Mr Phillip Mbano appeared for the quartet, while Mr Musindo Hungwe appeared for Mr Mliswa.
Mr Mbano said the order granted was not a victory for Mr Mliswa because the respondents simply consented.
He said his clients never invaded the farm, but they were demonstrating against the conduct of the politician.
“It is not a victory at all,” said Mr Mbano. “Mliswa’s farm was never invaded and my clients were just demonstrating to the party provincial and national leadership against the conduct of Mliswa.
“My clients actually had a petition that was sent to the relevant offices. We consented to the order because it did not affect us in any way.”
Mr Hungwe described the developments as a victory.
“We got the order that we sought and the invaders were ordered off Springvale Farm,” he said. “The order was granted as a final order and Mr Mliswa was declared the legitimate owner.”
Asked to comment on the reports that Mr Mliswa had already surrendered the farm to Government, Mr Hungwe described the developments as political.
“I am a lawyer and not a politician,” he said. “I believe those were political statements and I cannot comment on that.”
According to a founding affidavit filed by Mr Mliswa, the quartet stormed his farm on Monday last week.
“In particular, they went to the restaurant and ordered all the revellers therein to exit and instructed the staff to shut down all operations and they thereafter locked up the restaurant,” he said.
“The quartet then proceeded to the lodge and ordered all the clients who were booked there for overnight accommodation out of the lodgings and thereafter locked up the lodge.
“They then proceeded to the principal homestead, where they broke the locks to the gate and took occupation of the residence before proceeding to the cattle pen where they locked in all the cattle, thereby preventing them from grazing and ultimately they prevented normal farming operations to continue.”
Mr Mliswa said he was still the legitimate occupier of the farm because his lease was still valid.
“I am advised by my legal practitioners, which advice I accept, that as long as the lease agreement entered into by myself and the Government of Zimbabwe has not been lawfully cancelled, I am the lawful occupant of the land in question together with all the improvements thereon,” he said.