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Manzou villagers get land offer


FIVE of the 200 villagers, who recently took government to court in a bid to stop their eviction from Manzou Estate in Mazowe to pave way for First Lady Grace Mugabe’s private wildlife sanctuary, have been allocated alternative land outside the disputed property.


Two weeks ago, the five — Aspinas Makufa, Daaisi Musekiwa, George Musa, Costa Chirimba and Gift Chikowore — won an interim interdict order compelling government to stop their evictions and on Thursday won another court order directing the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) to guard their animals and ensure the beasts did not graze on the villagers’ crops.

The villagers’ lawyer Gift Mtisi said his clients had been issued with offer letters and were set to be shown their pieces of land measuring four hectares each on Monday next week.

“Our clients have been given offer letters. We want our clients to be allowed to harvest their crops before they vacate the farm. However, we are still negotiating on the terms of settlement,” Mtisi said.
“On Monday they (the villagers) will go to the Ministry of Lands offices to be shown their pieces of land.”

Part of the offer letters that were authored and signed by Mashonaland Central chief lands officer, identified as G I Chirapa, read: “The Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement has the pleasure in informing you that your application for land under model A1 has been successful. You are offered sub-division (it spells out 13-17) of Nyandirwi Farm, Mazowe District of Mashonaland Central Province.”

However, Mtisi said the offer letters were only issued to the five who were cited as applicants in the raging court case.

The five recently filed contempt of court charges against Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora, Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimparks and trustees of the board of National Museums and Monuments.

This was after police destroyed their homes in December in a bid to force them out of Manzou Estate in defiance of an order stopping the evictions issued by the High Court last year.

The High Court then ruled that the villagers could only be evicted on the condition government allocated them alternative pieces of land.
The villagers then obtained a second High Court order this year with the same condition.

Soon after the court ruling, Zimparks offloaded about 200 zebras on the estate in an apparent bid to force the villagers out of the farm.

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