By Fidelis Munyoro
Former president Robert Mugabe, who was kicked-out of a mineral rich farm in Mazowe early this year, is not letting go and is fighting to regain the farm after the High Court granted him an order for his case to be heard on an urgent basis.
Mr Mugabe, claims proprietorship of the expansive Smithfield Farm through his Gushungo Holdings (Private) Limited.
He was evicted from the property in January this year to give unimpeded access to small-scale gold miners–Shepherd Nyazvigo, Bright Mawonga and Mohammed Rezwan Khan, who claim to be the rightful owners of the same property.
The former president, who is now being represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu from The Chambers–Advocates of Zimbabwe, last week successfully applied for the matter to be heard on an urgent basis.
In opposing the confirmation of the interim order, Gushungo Holdings’ security officer Mkhululi Nyoni, who deposed to an affidavit argues that the gold miners have no right to mine claims, which are subject to a subsisting Special Grant.
The court is being asked to determine whether gold miners have any rights to the mining claims in question.
It is argued that none of the miners is the holder of mining rights as alleged. “Mining rights are not conveyed by the Inspection Certificates, which are attached to the founding affidavit and on which applicants (Nyazvigo, Mawonga and Khan) place reliance,” he argues.
He said there was a Special Grant, which is current and whose effect is to pour cold water on the claims made by the miners.
It is that Special Grant, he argues, which is the operative document and on the basis upon which mining rights to the piece of land involved are to be related.
The miners, Mr Nyoni said, should explain why they do not have the kind of authority, which is recognised by law and by the authority concerned.
“I reiterate that applicants do not own any mining claims,” said Mr Nyoni. The miners, he said were not entitled to be on the farm concerned.
“In fact their presence constitutes a threat to the lawful farming activities presently being undertaken at the farm,” he said. “In all circumstances, the application is without merit and ought to be dismissed with costs on the higher scale.”
High Court judge Happias Zhou ruled in January that the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Gushungo Holdings, through their personnel, should not interfere with the work of the gold miners pending determination of the matter.
The matter is yet to be set for hearing.