LATE former President Robert Mugabe’s daughter, Bona and her husband Simbarashe Mutsahuni have approached the High Court challenging Statutory Instrument SI 41 2020, which resulted in them losing part of their land.
The SI was published in February last year by the Lands Minister announcing new maximum farm sizes allowed by the law in Zimbabwe.
Late Perrance Shiri was Lands Minister at the time.
Mutsahuni is the first applicant while Bona is the second applicant.
They have an offer letter under Model A2 Phase II, in respect of Subdivision Consolidation measuring 1 804, 9719 hectares of Sigaro Farm in Mazowe district, Mashonaland Central.
The couple was allocated the farm on June 22, 2017 by the then Lands Minister Douglas Mombeshora who was part of the late President’s cabinet.
Cited as first and second respondents are current Lands Minister Anxious Masuka, and Attorney-General Prince Machaya, respectively.
“The applicant has a direct interest in this matter having been affected by the application of the provisions of SI 41 of 2020,” said Mutsahuni in his founding affidavit.
Mugabe’s son-in-law said the Lands Minister, purportedly acting in terms of SI 41 of 2020, proceeded to withdraw the aforesaid offer letter with an express intention to reduce the extent of the land which Bona and him held.
Mutsahuni said it was unfair because it is common cause the new SI came into effect when the old SI 419 of 1999, was still in full effect.
He said the minister did not adhere to the provisions of the regulations and proceeded to allocate individuals land sizes beyond the prescribed sizes under SI 419 of 1999.
“Pursuant to the promulgation of SI 41 of 2020, the minister has sought to pursue a rigid adherence to the new farm sizes stated therein. The SI has a negative retrospective effect of practically reducing land sizes for farms already vested rights in terms of already issued offer letters.
“In the given instance, SI 41 of 2020 is being used to reduce our land size under an offer given by the minister in 2017. The SI, therefore, has a retrospective effect of reducing land sizes for farms already allocated to farmers and thereby interfering with already vested rights in terms of already issued offer letters,” he said.
According to Mutsahuni, the new SI is arbitrary in that its consequence was that it was applied retrospectively without regard to the nature and extent of investments made by any farmer who historically would have been on the farm and made extensive investments.
He complained they were not given any discretion to consider the suitability of the prescribed farm size against the extent of any investments made by a farmer affected by same and the extent of utilisation.
“In the alternative applicants submit that section 21 of the Land Commission Act (Chapter 20’29) contravenes the provisions of sections 71 and section 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which respectively protect the right to property and equal protection and benefit of the law,” reads his affidavit.
Full hearing is pending.