The six-year-long land dispute between Lupane State University (LSU) and the owner of the farm where the university is being built, Henry Msipa, has finally been resolved after the farmer was relocated.
LSU public relations officer Zwelithini Dlamini said the wrangle had stifled construction of the university.
“The government has managed to secure alternative land for Msipa which will soon be handed over to him,” said Dlamini.
“The university has constructed a new top-of-the-range farm house for Msipa and has also drilled him the same number of boreholes that he had drilled at his old farm. The official handover of the property will be done mid-May.”
Dlamini said funds for Msipa’s compensation were channelled to the university through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.
Msipa also confirmed the development saying: “I am extremely happy and I can’t wait to move onto my new property.”
Dlamini said Msipa donated part of the farm to the government sometime in 2000 and the latter earmarked it for construction of the country’s eighth state university.
But the matter took a new twist after the government indicated it wanted the whole farm, arguing the donated piece of land was inadequate for the university.
Msipa then stood his ground refusing to give away his farm, saying he had invested a lot towards improving the farm’s infrastructure.
The wrangle dragged on for about six years until last month after the government offered Msipa another farm about 200 metres from the university and undertook to compensate for the developments he had done on the farm.
Construction at the university site has now resumed with works on the faculty of agriculture Block at an advanced stage.
The block is expected to be completed by December this year.
Civil society organisations and political parties in Matabeleland North had expressed concern over the slow pace of construction at the site and accused politicians of channelling resources towards the project each time there was an election to gain political mileage.