The wheels of justice finally moved on Wednesday after police officers escorted the Sheriff of the High Court to evict four A2 farmers who had illegally occupied Watermount Estate, on the outskirts of Harare, more than a year after the High Court gave the eviction order.
BY STAFF REPORTER
Documents seen by NewsDay showed that the Sheriff had failed to evict the farmers, as there was no police escort. It was only after the intervention of acting Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga that the wheels moved faster.
In a letter dated January 17, 2018, to Watermount Estate lawyers Nyamayaro, Makanza & Bakasa, Matanga pledged to provide police escort to the Sheriff.
“Be advised that I have directed Officer Commanding Police Mashonaland East province to avail police officers who will escort the Sheriff to execute court order HC2100/16 on behalf of your client. Thank you for bringing the case to our attention,” the acting police boss wrote.
The lawyers had written to Matanga’s office that the Sheriff had tried to evict the illegal occupants, but faced resistance.
The Sheriff’s Office had also written to Matanga to provide the escort.
In a letter dated December 19, Sheriff Macduff Madega appealed to Matanga to provide the police escort.
“Notice was duly issued in terms of the law on the February 1, 2017 and police escort was requested from the Officer in Charge Juru Police Station soon thereafter. The request was submitted in March 2017 and has not been fulfilled to date,” Madega wrote.
“We attempted to execute our mandate in the absence of police escort on December 13, 2017 and December 14, 2017 and faced resistance from the occupants at the address of service.”
Madega asked Matanga to intervene in the interest of justice, as the matter “has been in abeyance for too long”.
Watermount had obtained a High Court order in 2016 against Ephraim Nhamo and the Lands minister ordering them and all persons claiming through them to be ejected from the remainder of Craig Crag Estate measuring 600,6998 hectares and Lot 1 of East Anglia of the Craig of Crag measuring 13,6998 hectares.
The two pieces of land along the Harare-Mutoko Highway were held under Deed of Transfer No 8745/98, which was occupied by Nhamo and the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement.
The land was gazetted and acquired by government in 2005. It was then allocated to four A2 farmers. Watermount approached the Administrative Court in 2005, which ruled in its favour, setting aside the notice to gazette the land.
A 2016 High Court ruling ordered the four farmers to leave the land on or before February 28, 2017, “failing which the Sheriff for Zimbabwe, with the assistance of the police, shall evict them and the cost of the eviction shall be borne by the applicant”.