Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Nick Managwa has ordered 70 families settled on land that was voluntarily ceded by its owner to harvest their crops and leave.
Mangwana told the families that as he was given the offer letter to the land by the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to the publication here are the details that have been revealed by the publication on the issue so far:
- The late 2,000-hectare Thorndike Farm owner Gilford Rukawo signed up for a voluntary farm downsizing scheme that saw him retaining only 800 hectares of the farm.
- A group of villagers moved to the other part of the farm about 5 years ago and they have built their homes and they grow crops on that section of the farm.
- The villagers applied to the lands ministry between 2014 and 2016 to be officially settled on the farm but the ministry never responded.
- In January this year, Mangwana came with an offer letter to occupy 102 hectares of the farm ceded by Rukwawo including the section where the villagers have settled on.
Ebenia Shava, who is the leader of the villagers who are about to be evicted said Mangwana proposed that they sign agreements that they will leave after they have harvested their crops:
Mangwana proposed that we sign agreements that we will vacate the farm after we had harvested our crops, and we refused. It’s on record that we applied for offer letters between 2014 and 2016. In March 2020, forms were completed and submitted to Chinhoyi provincial offices (lands ministry).
In 2017, I had a meeting with Mrs Kunonga, the Chegutu district lands officer, who assured me she was aware of our situation at Thorndike farm and that after downsizing the farm we would be the first people to be considered for offer letters. But to our amazement, Mangwana and some other connected people were awarded offer letters for land we had applied for.
Shava alleges that they approached the provincial lands officer in Chinhoyi, Joyce Sifile on the issue but she failed to explain why Mangwana and others had been given offer letters on the same land they had applied to be settled on.
When contacted for comment Managwan said he applied for land in 2013 and got the offer letter in November 2020:
I made my application for a farm in 2013 when I was still in the United Kingdom, but allocation was only done after the land audit.
The allegations that I invaded a farm are false. I was allocated the farm and have the proper documentation to prove that. I’m actually taking a humane approach to evict these illegal occupants on my farm.
As a matter of fact, they actually grew maize crop on my land and I’m waiting for them to harvest their crops then I evict them.