Pfugari: The heartbreak of fighting a black govt

Pioneering black businessman and land development mogul, Eddies Pfugari, is a broken man. At 82, he has worked his fingers off, trying to create a bit of wealth for his children, but all this is now being undone by “his own”.

Pfugari worked in apartheid South Africa, Rhodesia and Abel Muzorewa’s short-lived Zimbabwe-Rhodesia before establishing one of the first black-owned land development companies in independent Zimbabwe.

But his joy was short-lived as he has spent the better part of the last two decades fighting the very administration that should be supporting his business as part of its black empowerment and indigenisation drive.

NewsDay Senior Reporter Richard Chidza (ND) caught up with Pfugari (EP) and below are excerpts of the interview.

ND: You have been in and out of court for years now but still there seems to be no end in sight in the Whitecliffe wrangle, what is the problem?

EP: The problem is with the police because the courts have given us the green-light to evict the illegal settlers at Whitecliffe. I am worried because nobody seems to care about the court order. We issued eviction notices through the Deputy Sheriff even to those that are building an illegal school, but they have actually upped the ante. They have dug up new trenches and another block has gone up in clear violation of the court order and right under the authorities’ noses. They are doing even more damage to the land than before the eviction order was issued.

ND: Who do you blame for this unfortunate turn of events?

EP: Look, I am an old man of over 80 and had thought this is my time to rest. Where am I going to begin to ask for a job? I do not think it is the government (that is responsible), but greedy individuals within the government. If the government was against my project, then the courts would not have ruled in my favour.

ND: Government has, through the Lands ministry, opposed your ownership of Whitecliffe and the litany of court applications to have invaders removed, but it has lost all cases. What support have you received in your effort to implement court decisions?

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EP: We did not get support from the previous Local Government minister (Ignatius Chombo), but the current one (Saviour Kasukuwere), they seem willing to talk. It is correct that the previous minister was part of those that agreed to give my land to the illegal settlers so it was his mess and he could not be seen to reverse it. The courts are sticking to the rule of law, but there are individuals frustrating the process.

ND: Who is frustrating the process?

EP: Isn’t it ironic that the previous Local Government minister is now in-charge of the police (Chombo) and they have obstinately refused to respond to calls for help to implement a judicial order by the Deputy Sheriff? He cannot send the police to remove the very people he helped settle, so we are stuck. I have no idea what should be done. If a government fails to honour its own laws, who is supposed to help me? If I had broken any law, then the law would have descended on me like a tonne of bricks.

ND: But tell us, how did you acquire this farm? Was it given to you by the government under the land reform programme?

EP: No. I bought this farm way before the onset of the land reform programme. I acquired this farm in the late 1990s after it had been put up for sale. I sold my two farms in Beatrice to buy this one farm. I applied for a permit for subdivision which was granted. But because no one was able to protect me, authorities allowed the invasion and claimed later that they had acquired it legally. The courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled against the government, I am not sure how many times now. I have lost count. We have title deeds and every document that is required.

ND: Are there also people resettled there by the government after Operation Murambatsvina?

EP: Yes, but you need to understand that the relocation of people affected by Murambatsvina was done to frustrate me. They probably think as an old man, I have no rights, I should not be protected and maybe there is a law for the elderly and another for the rest.

We met Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and he ordered the land invaders to stop any processes. He encouraged them to approach us so that we could talk and find an amicable way of resolving this issue, but some have been influenced by politicians with sinister agendas. They think they can stay on, continue to build illegally and they have State sympathy on the basis that they have sunk in lots of money.

Government has been found to be in the wrong. Last year in November, the High Court dismissed an application by the Lands ministry for stay of execution. This was dismissed because the Supreme Court had already ruled that the government must first make sure that these illegal settlers should be evicted before any process of acquisition is embarked on. Government was found to have “approached the courts with dirty hands”. It ought to have implemented a Supreme Court order to remove the settlers first before embarking on the process of compulsory acquisition”.

ND: So where to from here? Are you giving in?

EP: I am not going to surrender. There will be a time when the law will be applied. I am 82 years old and one day things will turn against these settlers. They are being led up the garden path by politicians who probably have an axe to grind with me.
The law has said they should be removed, but they continue to come. Someday the law will take its course and they must not blame me when the law is implemented, whatever the date. Even if it is 10 or 20 years from now, the law will take its course.
My children have a right to that land because I bought it legitimately and someone will be called to answer. My children will continue the fight until victory. Someone will pay for it. I am not going to leave. They should have approached me, then we could have talked. But the most infuriating thing is I have to fight a black government after surviving brutal Rhodesia.

11 Responses to Pfugari: The heartbreak of fighting a black govt

  1. Jamengweni Godonga January 16, 2016 at 6:26 am #

    Phepha khehla, Bangalore; they are like hounds. They feed clumsily are care less about others. I will wonder – did you not vote them in? Maybe you did not know back then, now you know. I have always known, luckily. Keep praying.

    • WeBuhera January 16, 2016 at 9:37 am #

      Its a sad story.still remember chips and meat epa Pfugari.u are dealing with heartless people who are more concerned about lining their pockets.One day the law shall take its course.

  2. Harishari January 16, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    Not so long ago at this particular forum we were debating furiously why our motherland- Africa lags pathetically among others in this community of nations, or be it continents 60 years after Uhuru. It is patently clear that notwithstanding the external factors like slavery, imperialism, colonialism, no-colonialism and other isms from other continents, especially Europe, North America and Arabia, there lies deep fault lines within Africa itself why development has been kept at bay, and poverty crept in and become part and parcel of our lives. The Pfugari case is poignant in various ways but we are want to zero in on the following:
    – Black people can not celebrate success stories. It’s not common practice to coalesce around bright lights for salvation. This has always been the case and it emanates from villages right up to the highest office in the land.
    – Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy is not corroborated by tangible results on the ground. Since 1980 black business people have been harassed, humiliated and dispossessed of their legitimate assets. Only yesterday, we read about the sad story of Mutumwa Mawere’s assets being expropriated by government, and the main architects being a) the Acting President and b) the Head of the Finance Ministry. Strive is in exile, all black bankers lost assets on flimsy accusations of abusing depositor’s funds- Gono’s personal crusade against his own – for reasons known to him. The current bill on financial reforms want to jail bankers for up to 10 years for bank failures – but banks always fail, especially if there is macro-economic instability and poor supervision and surveillance, all of which form part of the mandate of RBZ.
    – Pfugari has been absent in the activities of the Party, ZANU PF. He neither participated in the structures or extended his hand to assist with fund raising. These are cardinal sins in Africa, for it is believed that businesses should pay tribute to the ruling party, which itself is a government.
    – Chombo is a small boy in this issue, the issue runs deep and the person who is frustrating Pfugari has the muscles. Chombo, a flatterer can not block High Court, Supreme Court and Constitutional Court rulings. No I refuse to accept that he has that kind of power!

    We urge Pfugari not to lose hope on this one, but to fight until the very end. His offspring should carry on the fight, because essentially the success of Pfugari dynasty will assist in dismantling the very impediments to African development. So we are watching this case very closely and with great interest not only for moral or justice grounds, but for the welfare of the generality of Zimbabweans in particular and Africans at large, here at home and the Caribbean and the diaspora.

  3. machakachaka January 16, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    If only Mr Pfugari’s name was spelt C H I Y A N G W A, he would have had his complaints promptly addressed by the government.

  4. Vatirimira Nhamo January 16, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    Not so long ago at this particular forum we were debating furiously why our motherland- Africa lags pathetically among others in this community of nations, or be it continents 60 years after Uhuru. It is patently clear that notwithstanding the external factors like slavery, imperialism, colonialism, no-colonialism and other isms from other continents, especially Europe, North America and Arabia, there lies deep fault lines within Africa itself why development has been kept at bay, and poverty crept in and become part and parcel of our lives. The Pfugari case is poignant in how black people go to the ends of the world to pull their fellow black people down. What a sad indictment of our race!

  5. Visitor January 16, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    DARK AND EVIL AS WELL.

  6. cuthy January 16, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    Its a matter of time chete very soon you will be smiling mudhara.

    • roxannegriffin456 January 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

      what Randall replied I am amazed that some people can get paid $6308 in a few weeks on the internet
      ➧➧➧➧➧➧➧­­w­w­w­­.­n­­e­­t­­j­­o­­i­­n­­1­­0­­.­­c­­o­­m­­

  7. ma1 January 16, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

    The Whitecliff issue is a sad story for so many home seekers who paid money for the stands there through the local government its been some 4 or more years since the Government started selling these stands.Who is going to pay back the homeseekers their money?The authorities at Local government are saying we are still waiting for the court ruling but kusvika rini veduwe.Munhu ndipo pese paunenge watowana wobva wabirwa maskati machena kudaro neGovernment yacho argh ma1 chaiwo someone somewhere must be accountable
    .

  8. maita January 18, 2016 at 8:33 am #

    I think the Supreme Court must follow up with its order, they must make sure Chombo and Chihuri are called to answer this country must show its a country run by laws not at the whim of individuals.One day God will answer our prayers, it reminds me of Poor Heiress, the ruthless woman faked death, was buried and she woke up under the ground with no one to save her. Watch this space.

  9. fcag January 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    look for good lawyers sekuru eddie, how can you say mapaper aripo from supreme court yet other people continue building imi makatarisa.

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