BY CHARLES LAITON
High Court judge Justice Ester Muremba has saved former President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, together with their family business Gushungo Holdings, from being promptly evicted from a Mazowe farm after dismissing an urgent chamber application filed by three farmers.
Last month, three Mazowe farmers, Adonia Makombe, Sahungwe Hungwe and Nyika Chifamba, claimed ownership of Lot 1A Teviotdale Farm in Mazowe district, Mashonaland Central province, through offer letters and won the right to retain the farm following a ruling in their favour.
However, Mugabe, his wife together with Gushungo Holdings then petitioned the Supreme Court on appeal, challenging High Court judge Justice Helena Charehwa’s judgment, a development which did not go down well with the farmers, who also approached the High Court on an urgent basis, seeking leave to have Mugabe evicted from the farm, pending the appeal.
But when the trio’s matter was brought before Justice Muremba on February 28, 2019, the judge removed the case from the roll, saying it was not urgent at all.
“Whereupon after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel it is ordered that: the matter be and is hereby removed from the roll of urgent matters and the applicants (Makombe, Hungwe and Chifamba) shall pay the first to third respondent’s (Gushungo Holdings, Mugabe and Grace) costs,” Justice Muremba said.
The three farmers, initially issued summons against the former Head of State in June last year, seeking his eviction from the farm, arguing that they were holders of offer letters for the piece of land, which they grabbed at the height of the land reform programme in 2000.
But, the Mugabes challenged the farmers’ assertions, arguing that they were neither entitled to the piece of land nor had any right to demand anyone’s eviction from the land they themselves had no lawful authority to use, possess or occupy.
Mugabe further argued that only the Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement minister could exercise that right, but Justice Charehwa dismissed his assertion and ordered him off the farm.