Roy Bennett the Movement for Democratic Change treasurer, who was chased away from his farm more than six years ago, has finally been given permission to collect his personal belongings.
Bennett, the Deputy Agriculture minister-designate, fled from his Charleswood Estates farm after armed Zanu PF militias and soldiers invaded his farm.
Many workers at farm had resisted the eviction of ‘Pachedu’— as Bennett was popularly known in Chimanimani — resulting in violent clashes.
One of Bennett’s workers was killed in the fighting and several others were injured.
After Bennett was forcibly ejected, there were wrangles over ownership of the farm between the Zimbabwe Defence Industries and ARDA.
The farm, which was pillaged within days of its takeover, was eventually given to ARDA.
Last week Bennett said that he was told by the “new owners” of the farm that he could now collect his personal belongings including toothbrushes and blankets.
“I was called last week and told that I can come and collect my property now – a thing that I have been fighting to do since 2004,” said Bennett.
“I will be going there sometime next week to see if everything is still intact. They have told me that they haven’t touched anything.”
Bennett warned he would take legal action if any of his belongings were missing or had been tempered with.
“They have been holding on to my property including clothing, blankets and kitchen utensils,” said Bennett.
“They locked everything up before chasing us away. I have never been allowed to set foot there ever since they chased me away.
“The good thing is that I know everything that was on my farm before I left.
“I will sue them if I realise that they have taken part of my property,” said Bennett who is on trial for treason.
Bennett said his belongings included livestock, which he doubted he would recover.
“Villagers and workers at the farm knew exactly what was happening hence the support I am still enjoying at the moment despite all these years away from the farm,” said Bennett.
When Bennett bought Charleswood Estates in 1993, he introduced himself to local traditional leaders, who accepted him as one of their subjects.
“The people in Chimanimani were benefiting a lot when I was at the farm. Now there is nothing. Most of the farm workers are now destitute because the people who are there have failed to produce,” lamented Bennett.
Chief Chokera Chikukwa last month said he would not object if Bennett was to get his farm back.
He said he would ask the government to help Bennett.