THE High Court has barred flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa from evicting farmers from his leased Old Citrus Farm in Chinhoyi.
The order was issued on November 9 2020, by Justice Benjamin Chikowero following an application by more than 20 farmers whose houses and structures had been unlawfully demolished by Chiyangwa who accused them of invading the land.
“The first respondent (Philip Chiyangwa) shall forthwith stop the burning and demolition of applicant’s (Givemore Garande plus 19 others) structures at Old Citrus Farm, Chinhoyi. The respondents (Chiyangwa, Tafadzwa Kwaramba, Mwanza, Constable Mazviwanza, Sergeant Asani and officer-in-charge, Chinhoyi Rural Police Station) shall not unlawfully evict the applicants from their homesteads at Old Citrus Farm, Chinhoyi.
“The respondents shall not unlawfully interfere with applicants’ occupation of their homesteads situated at Old Citrus Farm, Chinhoyi,” Justice Chikowero ruled.
Through their lawyers, Messrs Ngarava Moyo and Chikono Legal Practitioners, the farmers approached the court for recourse after their efforts to engage Chiyangwa for the settlement of the matter failed.
In his founding affidavit, Garande said Chiyangwa had enlisted the services of the police to burn, demolish the farmers’ homes and eject them from their homesteads without a court order.
“I say it is wrongful and unlawful in that they do not have court orders against each and any one of us and they are not using the Messenger of Court or Sheriff of this court. I understand there are some people who are resident at the farm who were convicted for violating the Gazetted Land Act and were ordered to vacate the farm but we are not part of those people. We have not been convicted of any criminal offence relating to our stay on the land,” Garande said.
Garande attached to his application a copy of a long hand-written letter to the town clerk of Chinhoyi dated February 5, 2007, written by Chiyangwa indicating that he was not the owner of the farm in question, but was leasing the land from the local authority.