OPENLY conceding that circumstances have changed with the fall from grace and power of former vice president Joice Mujuru, businessman Tawanda Nyambirai has gone to the High Court seeking to reclaim three farms he claims were seized by her husband.
Nyambirai says the three farms – Kopje Alleen, The Beach and Rusfontein – which he bought through his companies Naval Phase Farming (Pvt) Ltd and Beach Farms Pvt Ltd were seized by the former vice president’s husband, General Solomon Mujuru.
The General, a decorated independence war hero and power broker in Zanu PF thought to have been one of the few in the party who could stand up to President Robert Mugabe, was however killed when a mysterious fire razed his farm house at Beatrice in 2011.
Still, his wife remained relatively untouchable as party and State vice president as well as, according to most analysts then, Zimbabwe’s next president after Mugabe.
But tables have since turned after Mujuru was abruptly fired from Zanu PF and accused of incompetence, sorcery, extortion, plotting either a coup or the assassination of Mugabe; allegations made by the President himself and his wife, Grace.
Nyambirai said the purging of Mujuru and her allies from Zanu PF had encouraged him to move to reclaim his farms.
She could no longer be feared, he explained.
“After having been forced to withdraw a High Court application in which the applicants had an enforceable provisional order, the applicants were simply too scared to vindicate their property earlier,” he said.
“The applicants have been given courage to bring this application by the position taken by Government against abuse of power allegedly associated with the former Vice President Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru.”
In court papers seen by the Herald newspaper, Nyambirai narrates how the farms were seized in 2002 resulting in his brothers and employees being tortured, allegedly at the instigation of the Mujurus.
“I acquired these farms and all the moveable assets thereon through the acquisition of the entire issued capital of Beach Farms (Pvt) Ltd under two separate agreements dated 21 September 2000,” Nyambirai explains.
“A copy of the agreement relating to the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Beach Farms is attached hereto.
“I financed the acquisition of these farms from our own resources supplemented by loans that I got from NMB Bank Limited who were my employers at the time.
“I borrowed Z$10 million from NMB Bank Limited. The bank registered a mortgage bond over the property for the same amount.”
The former TN Bank owner says he was dispossessed of the farms in February 2002 while a provisional order granted by the High Court on February 10, 2002 to reclaim the land proved of little help.
“My legal practitioner, Mrs (Beatrice) Mtetwa and I attempted to serve the provisional order on the illegal occupants of the farms.
“They intimidated us and chased us away. The intimidation continued at the Featherstone Police Station where we had sought assistance.”
Nyambirai says his brothers, Emmanuel and Nobert, were then kidnapped and subjected to “severe torture”.
“After this torture incident, I received a call from the late Retired General Solomon Mujuru with an instruction to meet him at his offices that were then in Milton Park (Harare). I went to meet with him,” he adds.
“I was subjected to verbal abuse, including false accusations that I was merely fronting for white people. I showed the late Retired General all my papers, including copies of the mortgage bonds.
“However, he still insisted that I should vacate the farms as the occupants of the farms had his blessings to take away farms.”
The General then directed him to meet then Mashonaland East governor David Karimanzira and where they were put in a room that had members of the Central Intelligence Organisation and the police.
“I was subjected to further threats and verbal abuse,” says the businessman.
“I had previously sought the intervention of the late Vice President Joseph Msika. In the meeting, I was ordered never to see the late Vice President Msika over the issue.
“The officials present including the late Honourable David Karimanzira claimed that the late Vice President Msika was a titular Vice President without any power and that all power was vested in the late Retired General Mujuru.
“I was threatened with worse consequences than the kidnappings and torture of my brothers if I did not withdraw the High Court application and stop seeking the intervention of the late Vice President Msika.
“I succumbed to the pressure and the duress and instructed my lawyers to withdraw the High Court proceedings.”
It could not be established whether the respondents have filed opposing affidavits.