BY SILAS NKALA
There was drama at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court recently when one of the executive members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Gibson Boston Siziba, openly hailed insults at a lawyer representing the owner of the farm they invaded, describing him as a corrupt court official.
Siziba teamed up with one Ernest Buseti, who was representing a group of people that had been evicted from Umvutcha Farm in Bulawayo, as they verbally attacked Bruce Masamvu, while he was representing the farm owner, Alister Micheal Fletcher.
Siziba and Buseti lost their temper after a Bulawayo magistrate threw away their application to remain on the farm despite an eviction order issued by the High Court.
They accused the lawyer of misleading his client and obtaining wrong judgments.
“The lawyer (Masamvu) has been misleading his client and managed to obtain wrong judgments. The court must protect us from these corrupt people,” Siziba said and his remarks were supported by Buseti.
However, Masamvu did not take lightly the raised allegations and threatened to take legal action against the two men.
According to court papers, sometime in March 2008, the government through the Ministry of Lands gazetted Umvutcha Farm for resettlement under the land reform programme after which it gave offer letters to several people, including war veterans and Zanu PF activists as they occupied Mopapi Umguza agricultural lots of Umvutcha Farm on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
The settlers then obtained deeds /deed of transfers and the land was registered in their names but the farm owner later approached the High Court seeking an order setting aside the government’s decision and eviction of the settlers, which order was granted.
Justice Nicholas Ndou ruled in Fletcher’s favour and declared the occupation of his farm illegal.
However, following the High Court order, the settlers remained in occupation of the farm, prompting Fletcher to file for an eviction order which Bulawayo magistrate Tinashe Tashaya granted on November 8, 2017.
Following the eviction order, the settlers allegedly harassed and threatened the farm owner and his employees and Fletcher again applied for a peace and protection order, which was also granted.
Siziba, who was not part of the applicants since the legal wrangle started, later teamed up with Buseti and filed an application challenging the evictions and the peace orders, but their application was dismissed by the court.