Ibbo Mandaza embroiled in land ownership wrangle

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    Dr Mandaza, a major shareholder and managing director of Panhowe Farm (Pvt) Limited, is now seeking an order barring Mrs Colleta Muzonzini from occupying Subdivision 1 of Estes Park in Mazowe District.

    However, the High Court recently refused to hear Dr Mandaza’s application that was brought under a certificate of urgency, saying the matter should proceed by way of an ordinary court application.

    Mrs Muzonzini wants to occupy the farm, measuring 119 hectares, on the strength of an offer letter given to her on November 26, 2008 by then Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the President’s Office, Cde Didymus Mutasa.

    In her opposing affidavit, Mrs Muzonzini said she failed to occupy the farm after Dr Mandaza’s workers forcibly evicted a person she had employed to work at the farm.

    The director of resettlement in the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Mr Christopher Mushambi, representing the minister, said the land in dispute was State land and was subsequently allocated to Mrs Muzonzini.

    "Subdivision 1 of Estes Park Farm, Mazowe District, measuring 119 hectares, has been acquired by the State and is now State land. Subsequent to the acquisition, the acquiring authority allocated the property to second respondent (Mrs Muzonzini) who has a valid offer letter to use and occupy the property," he said.

    In his affidavit filed at the High Court, Dr Mandaza said he purchased a farm called Passaford A in 1990 and in 1996 bought the Remaining Extent of Manyuki Farm and renamed the entire landholding Panhowe Farm.

    He stated that after the purchase, it came to his attention that boundaries of Manyuki Farm had been deliberately altered by previous owners, denying his farm access to water from Murowodzi River in the process.

    Dr Mandaza added that he immediately engaged owners of Estes Park and Spa Estate (A.S. Millar & Sons) to discuss the alteration of boundaries, so that his farm could have access to water from the river and even threatened them with legal action.

    "Before the boundary dispute could be resolved either by the parties themselves, by political intervention or through the courts, came the land reform programme in the year 2000.

    "Under the land reform programme, both Estes Park and Spa Estate were acquired by the State, inclusive of the disputed portion across the Murowodzi River into Manyuki Farm (renamed Panhowe), " said Dr Mandaza.

    He said the farms were sub-divided into A2 model plots and allocated to two new farmers, who were later moved after he notified authorities that the land was part of his farm.

    Dr Mandaza said he was asked to apply for the allocation of the land in dispute, so that it could be consolidated into his farm as a way of settling the matter.

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