The High Court on Monday ordered settlers who invaded a farm belonging to Phillip Chiyangwa, businessman and ZANU PF Zvimba South MP, to vacate.
Chiyangwa took 30 settlers to court after they had invaded the farm and claimed ownership of the property despite the fact that the farm was gazetted.
Last year, Chiyangwa won a similar case, which resulted in the settlers being thrown out of the farm. However, others continued to occupy the farm and allegedly damaged Chiyangwa’s property.
The settlers filed an urgent chamber application against Chiyangwa seeking an order interdicting him from interfering with their occupation.
They also accused him of buying police officers to ensure that they intimidated them, further stating that in fear of victimisation by the MP, they are staying in the mountains.
But High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda, in his ruling yesterday, said the invaders had come to Chiyangwa’s farm with dirty hands. Justice Kwenda said:
In deciding this matter, I make the following findings: A person in occupation of gazetted land must give up occupation or use of such land voluntarily. Because the law commands him or her to do so, he or she has a lawful authority to remain in occupation or use the land. Similarly, no one may take occupation or use of gazetted land without lawful authority.
The judge said anyone who remained in occupation of the land would be committing a crime.
He said the settlers were aware that the land they occupy was duly acquired by the State and gazetted, therefore, they don’t have to wait to be evicted as the law requires them to give up occupation voluntarily.
He added that the police officers were only exercising their law enforcement duties, adding that it was the duty of the sheriff to evict them.