The fight for Centenary’s Kingston Deverril farm between Phil Rankin and Zimbabwean-born British citizen Sylvester Nyatsuro took a nasty turn last week after armed police locked up the farmer, before driving away with his household property.
Rankin’s son, Barry and the Commercial Farmers Union on Friday confirmed the development.
Barry said police first came to evict his father at the farm at around 9pm on Thursday, but were not allowed to enter the farm house.
But about 20 armed police officers from Police Support Unit stormed the farm at around 5am on Saturday and allegedly ripped open the fence and forced themselves into the farm house to evict Rankin.
“They wanted to remove our property, and when my father resisted, they locked him up in one of the rooms in the farm house together with my mother and emptied the whole house, loading the property into a police vehicle,” Barry said.
“Right now the police have emptied the farm house and have locked my father and mother inside with an armed guard preventing them from leaving the empty house. They have taken away all the property, we don’t know where to.”
The fight for the farm has been raging for the past five months when Nyatsuro — who is allegedly using his alleged connection with President Robert Mugabe — made the first move to evict Rankin.
However, the farmer has been resisting eviction, saying he would not be sent off from the 100-hectare farm in Mashonaland Central by a holder of a British passport.
Nyatsuro, a medical doctor based in Britain, had allegedly deployed over 15 youths at the farm who have been camped there for the past three months. They once held Rankin hostage at the farm before allowing him in and out of the tobacco farm.
“Our lawyer tried to negotiate but was not allowed in by the police.
“My father has managed to recognise the officer in charge at St Alberts police station and another police officer from Centenary,” Barry said.
Rankin’s lawyer, Nyaradzo Maphosa was not answering calls yesterday.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she was not aware of the incident.