Mugabe gets farm reprieve

Deposed president Robert Mugabe’s family has heaved a sigh of relief after small scale miners that had dragged them to the High Court demanding access to their Mazowe farm – to collect mining equipment and gold ore — have withdrawn the application.

Shepherd Nyazvigo – represented by Phillip Makanya, Bright Mawonga and Mohammed Rezwani Khan – had approached the court, on an urgent basis, after they were chased away from Smithfield Farm.

In the application, they cited officer in charge Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Support Unit and Gushungo Holdings (Private) Limited’s chief security officer, as first and second respondents respectively.

They, however, withdrew the application on March 26, 2018, without proffering reasons.

“…take notice that applicants hereby withdraw their urgent chamber application against second respondent and will tender wasted costs,” reads the notice of withdrawal.

According to their application, the miners claimed that they were chased away in 2013 by Gushungo Holdings’ officers and members of the ZRP on the basis that their mining claims fell under a Protection Zone.

“The applicants approached the then mining commissioner,…(only identified as) I.N. Chihota, over the dispossession of their mining claims and he responded that Smithfield Farm is not under a Protection Zone and ordered that the second respondent (Gushungo Holdings (Private Limited) and other members of the security forces, which had been deployed thereon, should not interfere with applicant’s mining operations.

“Though the members of the security forces did not vacate the applicant’s mining claims when the mining commissioner ruled that Smithfield Farm does not fall under a protected zone, they then moved out of the farm in November 2017 and the applicants went back to their mining claims and resumed operations,” Makanya said.

According to Makanya, the ZRP and Mugabe’s security officer later deployed their officers on Smithfield Farm and barred the three men from further carrying out mining operations on their claims.

The court further heard that the Gushungo Holdings security officer and members of the police had put up a boom gate at the farm entrance, where they were screening people entering the farm, thereby barring people that intended to go to the mining claims.

Makanya also said that they had sought assistance from several government departments, but to no avail.

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