A WHITE commercial farmer from Matabeleland South, Clinton Rogers, is in trouble over his continued stay at Atherstone Farm, which was compulsory acquired by government and gazetted for reallocation to local people.
BY SILAS NKALA
Rogers (36), denied the charge of being an illegal settler when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa last week.
He was granted free bail and remanded to January 12.
Allegations are that sometime in 2001, Atherstone Farm in West Nicholson under Insiza District was acquired by the State and eventually gazetted on June 19, 2001 for rural resettlement.
In terms of the Gazetted Land Consequential Provisions Act (Chapter 20:22), Rogers was supposed to vacate or cease use of the gazetted land by February 3, 2007.
It is the State case that Rogers has continued to occupy the farm without any lawful authority from the acquiring authority. On October 1, 2015 a report was made to the police and Rogers has remained in occupancy of Atherstone Farm.
However, Rogers has since filed exception application to the charges stating that the cause of action against him is illegal and will be embarrassed by going to a full trial over a matter, which has no legal force. He submitted that the gazette, which the State relied on in the matter, had expired, therefore, not worthy to be used as a legal document to prosecute him.
However, the State, in its response, submitted that Rogers misdirected himself by believing that the gazette used had expired and maintained that its action was legal and stands to proceed.
The State further submitted that Rogers’ application for exception has no merit.