56 Rusape resettled farmers spared eviction

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

THE 56 Rusape farmers, who were facing eviction from Nyamasanga Farm in Makoni district, yesterday heaved a sigh of relief after government decided to compensate Bongani Mlambo, the original farm owner.

The farmers were allocated plots at Nyamasanga Farm under A1 and A2 schemes of the land reform programme in 2003.

The 520-hectare farm was sub-divided into plots, with each farmer getting at least five hectares.

However, Nyamasanga Farm owner Mlambo won back his farm after government decided to give back land to blacks who had their farms compulsorily acquired during the land reform programme.

Since Mlambo’s farm was taken over by government in 2003, he has not yet been compensated. He then sought the intervention of the High Court.

The small-scale farmers were recently issued with eviction notices.

The Manicaland provincial resettlement office recently wrote to the Lands ministry over the matter.

“Find attached to this minute a report on the above said property in Makoni district in Manicaland. The report was submitted to the head office in 2016 seeking guidance on the way forward as there had been an ownership wrangle between Mr Bongani Mlambo and the 56 settlers,” the letter read.

“It is not clear here if the issue was attended to as per request. However the current situation is not favourable for the 56 settlers as they have been issued with eviction notices,” the letter read.

The Manicaland provincial resettlement office then engaged Mlambo in a bid to urge him to accept compensation for the property in line with Statutory Instrument 62 of 2020.

Recently, Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka was in Makoni district inspecting tobacco auction floors in Rusape Voedsell and Boost Africa, and during the visit, he declared that Nyamasanga small-scale farmers would not be evicted.

Masuka added that Mlambo would get his compensation.

Zanu PF Makoni district co-ordinating committee chairperson Albert Nyakuedzwa said: “As a party, we realised that we would be reversing the land reform programme if farmers are evicted from the farm. We are happy that the government has intervened over the matter. Our President Emmerson Mnangagwa owns the land.”

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