Farmer back in court over illegal occupation of land

A COMMERCIAL farmer from Matabeleland South, Clinton Rogers, is back in court on accusations that he ignored the compulsory acquisition of Atherstone Farm in West Nicholson for resettlement of local people.

BY SILAS NKALA

Rogers (36), who is denying the charge of being an illegal settler, appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Nyaradzo Ringisai.
The matter was remanded to April 5 for continuation of trial.

Allegations are that sometime in 2001, Atherstone Farm was acquired by the State and eventually gazetted on June 19, 2001 for rural resettlement.

In terms of the Gazetted Land Consequential Provisions Act (Chapter 20:22), Rogers was supposed to vacate or cease use of the land by February 3, 2007.

It is the State case that Rogers has continued to occupy the farm without any lawful authority from the acquiring authority. On October 1, 2015 a report was made to the police and Rogers has remained in occupancy of Atherstone Farm.

Rogers has since filed exception application to the charges arguing that the cause of action against him is illegal and will be embarrassed by going to a full trial over a matter, which has no legal force. He submitted that the gazette, which the State relied on in the matter, had expired, therefore, not worthy to be used as a legal document to prosecute him.

His application has since been turned down leading him to be put on trial.

This was after the State opposed his application saying Rogers misdirected himself by believing that the gazette used had expired and maintained that its action to try him was legal and stands to proceed.

The State further submitted that Rogers’ application for exception has no merit.

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