GOVERNMENT has put an end to the wrangle between Mashonaland Tobacco Graders at Bromley Farm and the ex-farm workers after the Lands ministry last week officially handed over the property to indigenous farmer Samson Chauruka who has been struggling to occupy the property since 2011.
BY Jairos Saunyama
The property fight took a nasty turn last July when Zanu PF supporters teamed up with the ex-farm workers clashed and violently blocked Chauruka from occupying the property after pelting him with stones.
The ruling party activists claimed ownership of the property which is equipped with machinery with a capacity to process 10 000kg of export tobacco per day.
Anti-riot police later intervened and arrested 15 farm ex-farm workers for violence.
In a letter dated February 3 2015 co-signed by Mashonaland East provincial chief lands officer Wilfred Motsi, provincial administrator Cuthbert Ndarukwa and Provincial Affairs minister Joel Biggie Matiza, government confirmed Chauruka as the official owner of the disputed farm.
Part of the letter reads: “As the matter refers above, it was resolved in our provincial lands committee (20 January 2015) that the farm should be handed over to the owner as per court order dated 5 April 2014, case Number 2317/14. Also notice of cancellation of the previous lease expired on 6 June 2014.”
When NewsDay visited the farm on Saturday, the new owners were busy carrying out renovations with farm manager Ranganai Zendanemako saying Zanu PF activists had been addressed by officials from the Lands ministry and told to accept government’s decision.
“The property was officially handed over to us by the Lands Ministry on February 18. Government officials and police addressed the workers telling them the latest position and since then we have been experiencing some calm. As you can see we have begun renovations and in three weeks’ time we will be opening for both tobacco grading and stripping.
“We will be able to grade 10 000kg of tobacco per day. We will employ around 200 workers and we told the ex-farm workers to register for employment and if they do not want they will find somewhere else to live,” Zendanemako said.
During the visit, NewsDay observed that some of the ex-workers were still occupying the farm offices.