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Govt on brink of repossessing Chombo US$3 million Zvimba farm

Govt on brink of repossessing Chombo US$3 million Zvimba farm

THE MINISTER of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Anxious Masuka has moved to cancel a 99-year-lease agreement of Ignatius Chombo’s 3 098 hectare Zvimba farm with the intention to divide the farm for redistribution to other settlers.

In a letter to Chombo dated June 21, Masuka said the ministry was canceling the lease agreement to also retain the rights of the former minister’s wife Marian Chombo “as holder of an equal joint and undivided share in the leasehold following divorce proceedings.”

Chombo was granted a 99-year-lease agreement of the farm when he held sway in Government during the time he was Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development in 2006.

Now in a bid to prevent Masuka from cancelling the 99-year-lease, Chombo has approached the High Court seeking an order retaining his authority over the farm.

The former minister of Finance said, believing that his stay on the farm was guaranteed, he has poured in over US$3 million to turn the Allan Grange Farm, previously a wildlife sanctuary, into a commercial farm of high standard.

Represented by Lovemore Madhuku, Chombo said he became a holder of the land in question under the 99-year-lease in November 2006 and has been on the farm for the past 15 years.

“From November 2006 to March 2018, a period of about 12 years, I invested extensively, both financially and human resources into converting the farm from wildlife conservancy or game farm into a commercial farm for crop production,” Chombo said in his summons.

Chombo said, in March 2018, he entered into a tripartite agreement with an investor called Prepary Investments and the Government of Zimbabwe, represented by the Minister responsible for Lands.

“As the result of the joint venture agreement, the investor and I made investments in excess of US$3 million in the past two years,” the ex-Cabinet minister said.

Chombo said he was concerned to receive a letter dated June 21 2021 from the Ministry of Lands informing him of their intention to cancel his 99-year-lease in respect of Allan Grange Farm in Zvimba.

“I made detailed representation to the respondent, pointing out, inter alia, that it would be illegal for him to cancel the lease….Regrettably notwithstanding my aforementioned detailed representation, the respondent appear bent on proceeding with his intentions as communicated in his letter,” Chombo said.

The farm wrangle comes as Government is currently repossessing land from multiple-farm owners, those who have abandoned the land and those who are underutilizing the land.

Government says the repossessed land will be allocated to the landless as we push to achieve the agricultural revolution aimed at making the country food secure.

The matter is yet to be heard.