Mutinhiri in bitter farm dispute

Tracy Mutinhiri

FORMER Marondera East legislator Tracy Mutinhiri is embroiled in a bitter land dispute with a white commercial farmer Rijk Yates over the ownership of a farm in the district.

Yates was contracted by the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) to service Mutinhiri’s non-performing loan under a Land Utilisation and Debt Repayment Agreement wherein he was asked to grow tobacco on her farm, Marondera Farm, Subdivision 2 of Watondale and pay the bank 7% of gross profit towards servicing the debt.

The agreement was signed during the 2017-18 tobacco farming season.

Mutinhiri said the debt repayment was completed in August 2020 two years after the contract was signed and after completion of the debt repayment, CBZ advised Mutinhiri to make unbound decisions on her farm.

“After receiving that letter I have seen hell on earth because Yates has been bullying and harassing me with a racist attack on my person.  Yates is trying to repossess my farm through hook and crook,” Mutinhiri said.

“He even approached me asking for my offer letter but I will never surrender my offer letter to him.

“He has used all tricks in the Selous Scouts book to haunt and inflict pain on me, he has even threatened my life.”

Mutinhiri alleges that Yates is denying her access to farm, resulting in her failing to plant in the 2021-22 tobacco farming season.

“Yates is adamant that he will use the bank drafted contract despite the bank having directed that the contract had ended after the full payment was done in August 2020.

“I have vainly tried to negotiate for a new contract which will let him finish the 10 years he wants,” Mutinhiri said.

According to the letter dated September 16, 2020, seen by NewsDay, the bank gave Mutinhiri express authority to choose who to work with after the completion of her debt payment.

That translated to the termination of the contract between Mutinhiri and Yates.

Yates’ lawyer Precious Chakasikwa of Kantor and Immerman refused to comment on the matter.

“I have no instructions or authority, to speak to the media regarding my client's relationship with Mutinhiri. Kindly please contact my client directly,” Chakasikwa said.

Yates said he was not at liberty to comment since the matter was before the courts.

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