FORMER Grain Marketing Board chief executive officer Samuel Muvuti has won back his seized farm in Mazowe after successfully suing Lands minister Anxious Masuka for withdrawing his offer letter.
Muvuti and his wife Joylene, approached the High Court seeking a review of the minister’s decision cancelling their offer letter.
They argued that Masuka’s withdrawal of their offer letter was in violation of the Administrative Justice Act. The couple told High Court judge Justice Siyabona Musithu that they had conducted farming operations at Holme Head Farm since the time it was allocated to them in 2004.
On October 12, 2020, they, however, received a letter from the minister advising them of his intention to withdraw the offer letter. The reason given for the withdrawal of the offerwas to downsize the farm so that it conforms to maximum farm sizes.
On January 11, 2021, the minister wrote another letter to Muvuti notifying him of the cancellation of their 99-year lease agreement. The reason given for the cancellation was that the farm was being underutilised. The applicants, however, argued in their application that the farm was one of the most productive farms in the area.
In his reply dated April 20, 2021, Masuka averred that their submissions did not outweigh the reason for the need to downsize the farm.
In his ruling, Musithu said the minister’s decisions were irrational.
“The mere act of changing the reasons for terminating the lease agreement midway without adequately applying his mind to the applicants’ earlier representations in response to his first communication was grossly unreasonable,” Musithu ruled. “The first respondent was not only expected to act lawfully, but in a reasonable and fair manner."
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