LAWYERS representing Inter-fresh Ltd – a listed agro-process-ing counter of the ZSE – have written a letter of demand to six senior government and Reserve Bank officials who threatened to occupy Yarrowdale Farm in Mazoe.
The officials are identified as Matthews Kunaka CEO of Fiscorp, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank, Messrs Veremu and Jijita from the Central Intelligence Organisation, a Mr Tembo from the Zimbabwe National Army and Margaret Zinyemba Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Mazoe South.
They claimed that they had offer letters issued by the Ministry of Lands empowering them to take over the farm.
The incident has caused ructions in the nascent unity government which has committed itself to
have a proper land audit and to halt disturbances on the farms. There were frantic efforts this week from the government and the Reserve Bank to halt the invasion.
The Independent learnt yesterday that Kunaka has since been summoned by RBZ governor Gideon Gono to a meeting at which he was ordered to stop laying claim to the farm. The meeting was followed up by a strong letter from Gono chastising Kunaka.
“We are on record as condemning illegal farm occupations and advocating for good order,” Gono said in the letter. “You cannot nine years after the first invasions be seen to be associated with activities that negate the new spirit of advancing dialogue and productivity throughout the country.”
Interfresh has since issued a cautionary statement to its shareholders advising of the disturbances on the farm situated 41km north of Harare.
Documents to hand show that on February 7, a group of individuals accompanied by ZRP policemen and a uniformed ZNA military policeman are said to have claimed ownership of plots on Yarrowdale Farm, the crop section of Mazoe Citrus Estate.
They allegedly ordered Interfresh employees to vacate all the houses on the farm by today (February 13) so that they could move in en masse.
According to the company’s lawyers Kantor & Immerman, Interfresh was the holder of the farm’s title deeds and was entitled to peaceful and undisturbed possession of the estate until such rights were varied by an order of a competent of court.
“The land is fully cultivated and fully utilised. It does not fall into compulsory acquisition under the current legislation. In fact there are a number of legal matters pending in regard thereto, which militate against the allocation of this land to third parties,” said Kantor & Immerman.
“If you allege that you have a legal right to act as you did, please let us have full details of the alleged basis upon which you purport to act. Further and assuming that you are in possession of letters of allocation please let us have a copy in respect of each person who attended at Yarrowdale Farm and threatened our clients’ employees,” Kantor & Immerman wrote to the alleged invaders.
Â Kantor & Immerman said it had advised its clients to advise their shareholders of the developments and to approach the relevant court for urgent redress.
“Should you attempt to evict our client unlawfully on February 13 2009 as threatened we will take the matter with the courts and the relevant minister(s),” said the lawyers.
The letters were also copied to the Minister of Lands and State Security Didymus Mutasa and the officer in charge as Mazoe police station. – Staff Writer.