FORMER Midlands governor and Zanu PF politburo member Cephas Msipa has been sucked into a land row involving 24 villagers from Zvishavane who are accusing him of being hired by a rival group to evict them from their plots.
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
The wrangle over De beers Block 5B in Zvishavane has also drawn in top provincial police officers and senior government officials some of whom are being accused of receiving bribes to effect the evictions.
The 24 villagers have since taken the matter to the High Court seeking an order barring senior police officers, top government officials and traditional leaders’ from evicting them or demolishing their houses.
In the application, they claimed that they were initially resettled at Mabula Resettlement Scheme in Zvishavane before they were moved to De beers Block 5B by the Midlands chief lands officer Joseph Shoko in November last year following several meetings.
However, problems allegedly started when some government officials led by Msipa sought to evict them soon after Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya went on leave early this year.
Msipa is alleged to have approached the villagers and bragged about being “a politician and could not be stopped by anything even the court”.
Chief Collen Mapanzure has not been spared either as he is alleged to have been offered two stands on the site which he later sold at $4 500 each to some of the villagers.
The chief is also alleged to have received “various tokens” from villagers and was part of the “gang” that has teamed up with the police to take over De beers Block 5B.
The land dispute has taken so many dimensions with the Midlands provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo being accused of usurping the Minister of Lands Douglas Mombeshora’s powers in resolving the impasse.
In the plaintiff’s declaration under case number HC 946/14, the villagers said “Chitiyo declared herself the acting Minister of State for Provincial Affairs since Machaya who took the oath of office for that post was on leave. She said she did not care about the so-called constitution and what it says.
“Very recently, and in particular on January 14 2014 . . . the defendants went to De beers Block 5B and harassed the plaintiffs, they took with them two vehicles full of armed policemen and intimidated the plaintiffs and gave them an ultimatum to move out by February 7 2014 failure which the armed police would evict, arrest and beat them to death.”
The villagers were told the matter would not be reported anywhere since they were the ‘government’.
The respondents are yet to enter appearance to defend.