Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Ex MP defies court orders over farm eviction

Ex-MP Defies Court Orders Over Farm Occupation

Saturday, 25 October 2008 20:18
Former Gutu North MP, Lovemore Matuke is in contempt of court after he breached a court order not to interfere with activities at a farm he invaded in Gutu.

As farm invasions and confusion continue in Masvingo, Matuke who is also the provincial Zanu PF finance secretary is embroiled in a farm ownership wrangle with Thomas Johannes Nel, who owns Mijn Rust farm.
Nel has since filed an application of contempt at Masvingo civil court, complaining that Matuke had breached a peace order he was given by the same court last year barring him from carrying out farming activities on the farm beyond a 30 hectare plot he was given. Matuke is also accused of assaulting the applicant’s workers.

According to court records, Matuke invaded Mijn Rust farm in July last year, again breaching a Consent Order that had been signed between Nel and the then Minister of Special Affairs, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa on May 18, 2005 in the Administrative court in Harare. The Order was signed after Nel had surrendered his two other farms in Gutu to the government to enable a smooth resettlement of landless people under case numbers LA 4671/04, LA445/04 and LA 4267/04, leading to, Mutasa granting him ownership of the farm he was left with.

In the court papers, Nel’s defence Lawyer, Rodney Saratoga Makause argues that Matuke’s invasion of the farm was unlawful.

“Because of the agreement in the Administrative court between the applicant and the minister, the occupation of the property by the respondent (Matuke) is unlawful,” said Makause in court documents.

However, Matuke also filed a notice of application arguing that the same minister had given him an offer letter on September 3, last year but the court granted a peace order to Nel, which barred the former from
undertaking farm activities and also not to harass the latter and his employees.

But the latter last week told the court that Matuke had started ploughing on his farm and had had sent his workers to assault Nel’s farm workers until the case had been finalized by the courts.

The court papers said: “The responded has breached the court order by assaulting the applicant’s employees, removing fences and ploughing some portions of land, clearly disturbing the applicant’s dairy farming
 Nel, in his court papers, claims that he had also lost several cattle and the respondent and his employees had destroyed his grazing land. Cases of farm invasions and disturbances are on the increase in Masvingo amid reports that eight commercial farms including one that was forcibly grabbed by former Masvingo provincial governor, Willard Chiwewe were invaded by war veterans and Zanu PF supporters last week.
Reports say the Zanu PF supporters and the war veterans, who have since established temporary structures, are cutting down trees indiscriminately and are also looting cattle.


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