More than 25 top Zanu PF and government officials have ganged up against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration and filed a $20 million lawsuit for loss of business following the recent cancellation of their 25-year lease agreements to run wildlife projects in the Save Valley Conservancy.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The bigwigs, through their lawyer, Tarisai Mkwacha, filed their application at the High Court on April 24 this year and the Environment, Water and Climate minister acknowledged receiving the summons on April 27.
The disgruntled officials include, former Tourism ministry secretary, Sylvester Maunganidze, Zanu PF Masvingo deputy provincial chairperson, Ailes Baloyi, Pedzisai Mudenge, Zanu PF central committee member, Abraham Sithole, Zanu PF Masvingo provincial spokesperson, Ronald Ndaba, Godwin Chipika from the office of provincial administrator, Zanu PF Gutu West primary election candidate, Noel Mandebvu, Raymond Musungwa, Emelda Mutisi, Edward Dube, David Moyo and other 25 senior party officials, who are not named in the court documents, cited the Environment and Tourism minister Oppah Muchinguri and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks), as the respondents.
It is also reported that some of the affected Zanu PF officials, but not named in the court papers are Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Josaya Hungwe, Zanu PF national political commissar, Engelbert Rugeje and Zanu-PF central committee member for Zaka, Livingstone Chineka.
The officials claimed they were on December 12, 2007, given 25-year leases to run wildlife projects in the conservancy, where they were expected to pay levies and other statutory fees required from time to time.
The applicants submitted that government last year breached the terms of the agreement by unilaterally cancelling their agreement without giving them at least a year’s notice, so they could wind up their operations.
“Despite several demands, the defendants have refused and/or neglected to render vacant possession of the property to the applicants and it is extremely prejudicing the applicants,” the summons read.
The applicants are demanding that Muchinguri should allow them to resume their activities in the conservancy with immediate effect or alternatively to pay them $19 980 000 for damages and loss of business.
In their application, they cited Muchinguri and ZimParks, who have since entered an appearances to defend the matter on a date yet to be set down.