Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Cyrene farm takeover ‘error’

Cyrene farm takeover ‘error’

Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
THE Anglican Church-run Cyrene Mission’s administrators say they believe that the gazetting of the institution’s farm for land redistribution was an “administrative error” by the government.

Officials from the church warned over the weekend that the school and its clinic could be closed if the government did not reverse a planned takeover of the church’s farm.

In a statement yesterday, the Anglican Diocese of Matabeleland said church officials had engaged the government to get the land take-over reversed.

“The church believes it was an administrative error on the part of the acquiring authority as government policy protects churches and the church received written confirmation to that effect from the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement,” said the church.

“The position is that the Mission Farm was gazetted on November 14, 2014, creating far reaching implications for the institution and activities thereon. The school benefits directly from the farm both from the produce and provision of educational purposes.”

On Tuesday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora allayed fears that the school faced closure.

Dokora said the history of land acquisition in the country had no precedent of a single school whose integrity was compromised by land reform.

“The gazetting of the farm doesn’t necessarily mean that the school has been gazetted also. The Anglican Church should be talking to us and not to the press. If they’ve any problems, they should approach us,” he said.

Dokora said he had no recollection of an incident where interests of a school had been compromised by land acquisition.

“I therefore want to believe that the record testifies to that integrity of the school as an institution,” he said.

Dokora said a criteria exists which is used in reserving the size of land where a school is situated considering its enrolment, size and needs in terms of the practical subjects offered at the institution.

Built in 1939 and named after Simon of Cyrene who was forced to carry the cross at Jesus’ crucifixion, the school was established by Canon Paterson, an Anglican priest born in Scotland.

Work on Cyrene Mission began in 1936 when John Banks donated two farms, including a large house, to the then Anglican Diocese of Southern Rhodesia.

The school chapel was declared a National Monument in 1987.


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