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Zimbabwe defense forces (ZDF) refutes land grab allegations

by Shelton Muchena
23 Apr 2021 at 08:31hrs | Views
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF)has dismissed reports in some sections of the media that ZDF commander, General Philip Valerio Sibanda, invaded Goede Hoop Farm in Mazowe.

 In a statement yesterday, ZDF director public relations Colonel Teddy Ndlovu said the farm in question had not been allocated to General Sibanda and had never visited that farm. However, that farm have been divided into four sections  and  other two  setions been allocated to  army and  police as corporate entities.

 "The Daily News and NewsDay on April 12, 2021 published articles titled ‘Farmers sue army, police chiefs' and 'Matanga, Sibanda sued for land grab.' The duo articles alleged that the two service Chiefs appeared before the courts for grabbing Mazowe Farm. 

In fact, "The Livaditakis family has been abusing the court processes by repeatedly bringing frivolous applications based on the same allegations and arguments since 2017, each time thereafter abandoning their court applications. Their case has already been decided by the court on March 25, 2021 and dismissed since the Livaditakis failed to prosecute their case as they were in default," he said.

 Colonel Ndlovu revealed that the family has now resorted to media to pursue their baseless claims and tarnishing the image of General Sibanda, the Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the organisation.

Relatedly, the fact of the matter is that the land in question is a state land according to Section 27 of the Constitution. In pursuit of its constitutional mandate, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, subdivided the land into four subdivisions. 

 One of the subdivisions measuring 478 hectares was allocated to the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), and not General Sibanda as reported by some sections of the media and the other subdivision was allocated to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), and not Commissioner General Matanga as an individual, while the remaining portion was allocated to the Livaditakis family, the family at the centre of false reports.

"All these allocations were done  in terms of the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act. Contrary to what the public is being made to believe by those media publication.  Livaditakis family are not entitled to that farm in terms of Land Act but they are in possession of an offer letter for the sub-division allocated to them and this document does not confer rights to ownership of the land in question.

 "Whilst the Livaditakis family's argument is based on the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA), it must be noted that in terms of the law, BIPPA does not affect the legality of compulsory acquisition of land under the land reform programme.

 "The fact that the reporters never bothered to verify the story with the Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the ZNA or the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement before publishing it reflects badly on their basic professionalism. It also reflects an ongoing sinister agenda to portray the ZDF and its command element  as insincere unprofessional, lawless and unruly."

 Under BIPPA agreements land can still be acquired, but compensation agreements are different. Colonel Ndlovu said the story in question is defamatory and violates the personal integrity of the General  as it contains falsehoods which purports that; the offer letter was issued to  him in his personal capacity and that he invaded Goede Hoop Farm in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central in 2018 and demanded that the family vacates the premises as ownership has been transferred to them.

 He said the story claims that General Sibanda "stormed the farm and ordered them  to vacate the farm because they now owned the farm" when in fact General Sibanda has never set foot at the aforesaid farm and never had any conversation with anyone from Livaditakis family.

Source - Shelton Muchena