The High Court yesterday dismissed with costs an urgent chamber application by former army General Solomon Mujuru to overturn an offer letter giving the right of ownership of a farm in which he has an interest to a business partner, Edward Buwu.
Mujuru was kicked off Inyanga Downs Farm after Buwu allegedly secured an offer letter clandestinely and mobilised war veterans to assist him annex the land.
Justice Judge Ben Hlathswayo threw out Mujuru’s urgent chamber application to repossess the property stating there was no urgency in the matter.
The judge ruled the application should follow normal procedure like any other High Court civil matter.
Mujuru through his lawyers Advocate Thabani Mpofu submitted that Buwu had, by stealth and threats of force and violence, illegally taken over farming activities at his Inyanga Downs Farm.
Mpofu further submitted Buwu had essentially and effectively deprived the retired army general of the use, possession and occupation of the land.
In his application, Mujuru indicated Buwu’s action was not at law and amounted to an act of spoliation.
He further stated that enforced
land constituted a threat to his interests from whatever angle one would look at the matter and could not be supported.
Mujuru and Edward Mashingaidze partnered with Buwu, Anthony Swire Thompson and a consortium of other businessmen to invest in Lot 75 Inyanga in 2003. The listed directors of the company are Daniel Garwe (chairman), Mujuru, Buwu, Swire Thompson and Mashingaidze. The investors agreed to a joint venture with Swire Thompson as part of a skills transfer programme for indigenous farmers and the new consortium gave 400 hectares to government for resettlement, retaining 265 hectares for a horticulture venture.
Buwu is said to have secretly obtained an offer letter for the 265 hectares, which he used to kick out Mujuru and the other investors. “While other partners were finding ways of making the business grow, respondent (Buwu) clandestinely applied for an offer letter in respect of the land upon which applicant has been conducting its operations,” Garwe said in their application seeking to repossess the farm. Buwu took over the farm on May 20 and seized 600 tonnes of apples stored in a cold room ready for sale and eight hectares of potatoes and flowers. Garwe accused Buwu of keeping the letter secret until May 31 when he declared ownership of the property.