Bishop Trevor Manhanga has vowed to ignore a directive from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to vacate Lesbury Estate farm in Makoni District. Manhanga, who is reported to have close connections to former President Robert Mugabe, seized the farm in June allegedly with the help of armed men who had AK 47 assault rifles from Robert Smart and his son Darryn. Manhanga insisted that his takeover was lawful and that he had valid offer letters.
I did not invade, occupy or grab any farm or portion thereof. I am in legal and lawful possession of an offer issued on March 15 to a piece of land measuring 100 hectares of Lesbury Estate in Makoni.
There are at least two people known to me who have offer letters of portions of Lesbury Estates, namely the current Chief Tandi (Mr William Samhungu) and David Nyakonda.
There are no frictions between all those allocated land at Lesbury Estate. Since I am in possession of a valid offer letter, I continue to be the legal owner of the 100 hectares offered to me.
This is in direct contradiction to what special adviser to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chris Mutsvangwa said last week. Mutsvangwa is reported to have emphasised that the two farmers should not be disturbed in their farming activities saying:
These two farmers, Robert and Darryn were victimized by Mandi Chimene. President Mnangagwa attended an investment conference to lure investors in June and Chimene sent some armed people to invade Smart farm so that the country could be portrayed as a high-risk destination for investment.
This was a ploy by Chimene to scare away the investors from the country. President Mnangagwa was clear that land reform is irreversible but insisted that it should not be racial.