ZVIMBA — The residents of Warwick Farm, who have been living and farming on the land since 2000 under the land reform program, are seeking the intervention of the Zimbabwe Lands Commission to resolve a land dispute with the Minister of Lands and Rural Settlements and a company.
Article By Farai Machamire.
The complaint alleges that the Minister and the company colluded to delist the farm from the acquisition list and transfer it to the company, which is owned by Nicholas Nyandoro, an alleged front man for the former white owner of the farm, Tim Johnson.
According to the complaint, Johnson and Nyandoro orchestrated a series of transactions in 2003 and 2004 that involved changing the ownership of the farm from white to black, and transferring the shares of the ICF Trust, a shareholder in Warwickshire (Pvt) Ltd, from the Johnson family to the Nyandoro family.
The complaint further states that Nyandoro, through Warwickshire (Pvt) Ltd, approached the High Court in 2013 and 2018, seeking to delist Warwick Farm from the acquisition list, and that the Minister of Lands and Rural Settlements supported his application.
The complaint reveals that the residents of Warwick Farm, who settled on the farm in 2000 after it was invaded by war veterans, were not cited nor served in the court cases, and that their presence on the farm was not disclosed.
The complaint also accuses the Ministry of Lands and Rural Settlements of ignoring the initial gazette that announced the compulsory acquisition of the farm in September 2000 , and of “relying on a false affidavit” by one Marius Dzinoreva, who identified himself as a director in the ministry, who claimed that Warwick Farm was an indigenous farm that was not supposed to be acquired by the government.
The complaint asserts that Warwickshire (Pvt) Ltd obtained a default judgment in January 2014 to delist the farm and uplift a caveat on its title, but the farm was relisted by the government in August 2014 .
However, Warwickshire (Pvt) Ltd initiated another court process in 2018 and obtained another default judgment to delist the farm, with the support of ministerial letters.
The complaint further alleges that Warwickshire (Pvt) Ltd sold stands on the farm through Charlene Investments (Pvt) Ltd before acquiring a permit , and that it managed to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works despite the objections and representations made by the residents .
The complaint finally states that Warwickshire (Pvt) Ltd has begun a process of evicting the residents who have lived and developed the farm for over 20 years, and that the residents have not been given security of tenure or land rights in violation of Section 292 of the Constitution .
The residents of Warwick Farm are seeking the intervention of the Zimbabwe Lands Commission to resolve the land dispute and protect their security of tenure or land rights.
The Zimbabwe Lands Commission is a statutory body established by the Land Commission Act to investigate and resolve land disputes, and to advise the government on land policy and administration.
The Minister of Lands and Rural Settlements, the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, the Registrar of Deeds, Warwickshire (Pvt) Ltd, Tim Johnson, Nicholas Nyandoro, and Marius Dzinoreva are listed as respondents in the complaint.
The complaint also argues that the existing court orders are invalid and unconstitutional, as they contradict the Amendment No. 17 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which states that Warwick Farm is a piece of land vested in the state and cannot be registered as private property.