Centenary farmer, Phillip Rankin has filed an application at the High Court seeking to have Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri found in contempt of court for allegedly refusing to remove police officers from Kingston Deverill Farm.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Court papers show that Rankin was in January this year forcibly evicted from his farm by Chihuri.
The police boss allegedly instructed his subordinates to kick him out, paving the way for medical doctor Sylvester Nyatsuro, a British citizen, and his wife Veronica.
In February, High Court judge, Justice Clement Phiri issued an order in Rankin’s favour.
Justice Phiri ordered Chihuri and the police to immediately vacate the farm as well as restore everything they had vandalised.
In his latest application, Rankin said the court order was served to all the concerned parties, but Chihuri was still refusing to budge.
“The first respondent has allowed these people (Nyatsuro and his wife) to occupy the farm in contempt of what this honourable court ordered. This is precisely the mischief that this honourable court sought to address when it granted the applicant the interim relief directing the first respondent to leave the affairs at Kingston Farm alone,” the farmer said.
“The first respondent and all claiming upation through him need to know that, no matter how high a position one is in government, court orders ought to be respected and immediately so.”
However, in response to the application, Ministry of Lands permanent secretary, Grace Mutandiro defended Chihuri’s actions, arguing the matter had since been appealed at the Supreme Court.
“(The) sixth respondent (Minister of Lands) lodged an appeal against the said provisional order in the Supreme Court in SC144/16 on March 11, 2016, and the said appeal was served upon the applicant’s legal practitioners of record on March 15, 2016,” she said.
“(The) second, third and fifth respondents (the Nyatsuros and Honest Dzika) are in no way claiming occupation through first respondent (Chihuri). (The) second and third respondents have the lawful authority to occupy Kingston Deverill Farm by virtue of the offer letter, which was issued to them by sixth respondent, who is the acquiring authority . . . Needless to say though, the provisional order was suspended by operation of law and shall only be considered after the appeal is heard.”
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing. There were demonstrations against Nyatsuro in Nottingtham, England, where he runs a medical facility, with Britons demanding that he be deported following the farm