Kuda Tagwirei wades into property grab storm

Kudakwashe Tagwirei
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HARARE – Business tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei and gold dealer Scott Sakupwanya have been implicated in the alleged grab of Nijo Produce, a Harare property of the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA), the military wing of the ZAPU party during the war against British rule in the 70s.

ZPRA is seeking to recover the property from the Government with legal processes already underway.

In the High Court application filed last week, businessman and co-ordinator of ZPRA Liberation War Ex-combatants Co-ordinating Committee Frederick Mutanda listed dozens of properties, including Nijo, a prime piece of land in Borrowdale, Harare, which he alleges were seized in 1982 following the collapse of the unity Government between ZANU and ZAPU over sharp differences.

The Government used the Unlawful Organisation Act Chapter 91 on February 16, 1982 to seize the properties. The ZPRA is demanding compensation of US$20 billion.

Nijo was placed under the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) in 1984 and later transferred to ZANU PF in June 2020. ZANU and ZAPU signed a Unity Accord in 1987, which saw the two liberation movements merging to create a new governing party called ZANU PF.

The 1987 unity accord ended the post-independence disturbances, commonly known as Gukurahundi, which occurred in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

ZPRA is citing Betterbrands Construction, a company linked to Sakupwanya, Chaminuka, an investment vehicle owned by ZAPU PF, and Broadhaven Construction, reportedly owned by Christian Kastande, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the UK. The decision to approach the court was reached after the realisation that the cited parties were fighting over Nijo, despite not being the bona fide owners of the property.

While ZPRA has not directly cited Tagwirei, it is alleging the businessman is directly or indirectly involved in the alleged land grab, an allegation he strongly denies. Meanwhile, Betterbrands Construction has withdrawn a High Court application in which it was seeking to bar Broadhaven from carrying out any activities at Nijo.

“On 14 September 2022, applicants were alerted that one Kudakwashe Tagwirei was at Nijo. Efforts to engage the said Kudakwashe Tagwirei . . . have been ignored. Priority is to support survivors and dependents of ZPRA liberation war special forces.

“The applicants, therefore, seek an interdict on the redevelopment of Nijo by anyone acting on ZANU PF…including but not limited to one Scot Sakupwanya and one Kudakwashe Tagwirei.

“Should ZANU PF . . . proceed with the redevelopment of Nijo, a consequential financial loss to the

ZPRA ex-combatants is US$2 billion,” read part of the application.
However, Tagwirei, through his lawyer, is denying any involvement and is demanding the withdrawal of the application.

“Having considered the application, we have come to the conclusion that it is a dog’s breakfast, which must be promptly withdrawn,” Admire Rubaya wrote to Mutanda on October 20, 2022.

“The application makes bare and unsubstantiated allegations against our client and other cited individuals.

“It suffers from the want of evidence; the cause which our client and the other unfortunate respondents seek to be joined to has nothing to do with them. The joinder procedure has been misused and misapplied; the application seeks various unrelated reliefs, which include a man and a declaration; the strange reliefs sought amount to judicial and procedural heresy as you seek an interim and final interdict concurrently in an application for joinder, which is highly inappropriate.”

Tagwirei adds; “Our client has no relationship with the cited respondents and it is strange how it has been made part of the proceedings when both the facts and evidence.

“In light of the above, it is self-evident that the application is not for justice rather it is actuated by malice and it is meant to grand-stand and create a false, defamatory, and injurious narrative clothed in judicial robes to avoid detection,” Rubaya.

In response, Mutanda says the application will not be withdrawn as it seeks to protect the constitutional rights of ZPRA ex-combatants.

He says he sought an explanation from Tagwirei on the relationship with Chaminuka Investments but was ignored.

Among the alleged beneficiaries of the properties include the late Vice President Dr Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku, Report Mpoko (all late), former Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Commander Defence Forces of Zimbabwe, General Phillip Valerio Sibanda and Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Marshall Elson Moyo. – Business Weekly