Theresa Makone, Home Affairs co-minister, has accused Harare City Council special interest councillor Charles Nyachowe of using fake offer letters to illegally evict white commercial farmers around the country.
Allegations against the special interest councillor are contained in a letter written by Makone to Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana.
Makone said several people were using fake offer letters obtained from the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture offices.
The letter was copied to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.
In the letter, Makone said Nyachowe, who is Affirmative Action Group president (Harare Chapter), was now an occupant of a farm which he allegedly seized from an 82-year old woman.
“I have attached hereto a fake offer letter which has been used by a Mr Nyachowe, who is a special interest councillor here in Harare, as an illustration of the point that I have made above,” wrote Makone.
Makone bemoaned the chaos at the farms saying her ministry was inundated with complaints from people over the government’s failure to enforce the rule of law on the farms.
“Corruption in the Ministry of Lands has resulted in the escalation of farm invasions that are currently being experienced in the country,” she said.
“The common complaint is that some individuals, often accompanied by rowdy thugs – besieged farms armed with offer letters and effecting unlawful evictions. In many instances these are carried out despite High Court orders barring such evictions.”
Nyachowe was appointed by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo as a special interest councillor to “assist” MDC-T councillors in Harare on different areas that needed “expertise”.
Recently, the Combined Harare Resident’s Association (CHRA) wrote to Chombo questioning his choice of Nyachowe whom they alleged was an ex-convict. Chombo did not deny that but defended Nyachowe saying he had served his prison term.
Nyachowe was convicted of fraud in 1995.
“Nyachowe is a convicted fraudster,” wrote the residents. “You owe Harare residents an explanation as to the reasons behind his appointment. Which interests does he represent?”
Chombo replied: “He (Nyachowe) was convicted many years ago. He served his prison term and it’s a thing of the past and to try and bring it up today is politicking by CHRA. Nyachowe is a renowned businessperson despite his past.”
On Monday, Nyachowe admitted he was aware of such claims by Makone, but said he had an offer letter he knew for a fact was genuine.
“I have heard about such claims that I acquired the farm using a fake offer letter, but I wouldn’t know where she got that from. I received a call from the AG telling me that my offer letter, according to Makone, was fake but I went there, gave me the offer letter and he just gave it back to me without saying anything,” he said.