Farmer fined for defying eviction order

An 85-year-old former commercial farmer from Mberengwa has been fined $150 for failing to vacate a farm, which has since been allocated to Mberengwa North legislator, Tafanana Zhou (Zanu PF).

BY Stephen Chadenga

Stamatoula Raft, who owned Clifton Farm in Mberengwa, was fined last Friday for violating a section of the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act, when he appeared before Gweru provincial magistrate, Pathekile Msipa.

The Lands and Resettlement ministry last year served Raft with an eviction notice in respect of a piece of land measuring 208 hectares she occupied at Clifton Farm and to wind up operations by February 17 this year.

Raft, however, defied the order and remained on the farm, claiming former Midlands governor, Cephas Msipa had assured her that she would not be evicted, since she was using the property productively.

She said she had voluntarily given the the part of the farm, measuring more than 2 000 hectares to government, where new farmers were resettled.

Raft, in her defence, said the State had also acquired two of her farms, one in Kwekwe and another in Gweru.

But the magistrate ruled that Raft had no right to continue occupying the farm without a new offer letter.

She was ordered to pay a $150 fine, failing which she would serve 30 days in jail.

Msipa further ordered Raft to vacate the farm by Friday.

The State’s case was that on October 22, 2015, Lands and Resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora ordered Raft to wind up her farming operations and vacate the property by February 17 this year. Government, at the same time, gave Zhou an offer letter to occupy the property, but the legislator failed to move in as Raft defied the eviction notice.

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