HomeLocal NewsCourt orders former governor to co-exist with Ganyani family

Court orders former governor to co-exist with Ganyani family

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Former Masvingo provincial governor and resident minister Willard Chiwewe, who has for a long time tried to elbow out a family from its farm since 2006 has lost his case in court and has been ordered to co-exist and respect the family’s dignity.
But he nonetheless remains effectively the winner because he gets to stay on the farm after all, albeit as part owner.
Masvingo senior magistrate Rogers Zivanai ordered Chiwewe to pay the Ganyani family $460 for renovations made on part of the farm that he has been allowed to keep.
The farm, known as Ganyani Farm or Chikwari Estates, was owned by the late businessman and bus operator Ganyani who, according to court papers, bought it from a white farmer way back in the 60s.
Chiwewe has refused to leave the farm despite the offer of another farm in Mwenezi by the provincial lands committee which ruled he had no right to dispossess a fellow black farmer.
The former governor’s argument is that he holds an offer letter for the farm issued in 2005 when he was still governor and resident minister of the province.
Chiwewe secured an offer letter (REF LLRR 704) that enabled him to occupy 1 667 hectares of the productive land, relegating the Ganyanis to an undeveloped mountainous area on the farm.
He sought an interdict barring the Ganyani family from threatening his employees with eviction or vandalising infrastructure which the family claimed was put up by their late father.
Before the court battle, the Ganyanis had approached the Masvingo Provincial Lands
Committee (PLC) in 2009 seeking protection. They argued that the farm was the only source of livelihood left to the more than 50 Ganyani children and the late businessman’s two widows.
In August 2009, the PLC deliberated on the issue and made recommendations that Chiwewe be allocated alternative land in Mwenezi while the Ganyani family “remain at the farm as the current land reform programme was targeting white-owned farms rather than black-owned farms in addressing the land imbalances”.
At one time, in April this year, the incumbent governor for Masvingo province Titus Maluleke threatened to instruct the
police to evict his predecessor, after he had defied the lands committee’s order to vacate the farm and take ownership of another.
Maluleke and the lands committee contended that Chiwewe’s action to take a farm owned by another black family in the name of indigenisation did not make sense and was against government policy.
For years, Chiwewe and the Ganyani family have been battling over ownership of the farm.
“The courts have allowed him to stay here but we will never be happy with that,” said a family member.
Earlier this year Chiwewe, who had been cornered by other Zanu PF bigwigs in the province, threatened to name and shame officials whom he alleged were multiple farm owners.
“I am not leaving,” Chiwewe was quoted by the media as saying. “It’s political, because how do you evict me when several other government officials within Zanu PF have more than three farms each?”
According to the latest court order, Chiwewe will have to co-exist with Shepherd Ganyani, son of the late owner of the 3 000 -hectare farm.
The case registered as INT 2810 first came to court on March 4 and judgment was delivered on July 1.

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