It has become a norm in Zimbabwe for anyone to get away with anyone’s properties without any valid reason and full compensation. Many people across the political divide expected the Mliswa – Westwood saga to be resolved through the so-called new dispensation, but the case has dragged in the courts of law for so many years raising suspicion that the regime might be siding with the fugitive Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa.
This is one of the many reasons why few potential investors have left the country, citing lack of guarantee on people’s property rights. During the 2017 episode, one of the key fundamentals which the military reiterated during the seizure of power, was the restoration of legacy, getting rid of the purported criminals around Robert Mugabe.
The country has witnessed a rampant seizure of properties, theft of trust funds, fresh wave of farm invasions, illegal occupations of prime land and personal properties, which leaves many few remaining potential investors to leave the country. Few days ago, we have witnessed the rampant looting of state funds, with over 60 million went missing in the disguise of donations to the Zimbabwe Government. To add on to the list, we saw the illegal occupation of Harvest House, which has legal papers under the custodianship of a trust.
During Mnangagwa era, many people have lost their properties, under his watch, and today Zhuwao family have lost a farm to the current Youth Minister, Coventry. The current Youth Minister is the latest Government official to invade a farm, with fake letters produced, claiming the land was lying idle. The current wave of fresh farm invasions, clearly shows the regime does not have respect over property rights. Zimbabwe has no clear policy direction which includes a clear investment policy which defines property rights as a human right obligation and necessity. The Government has a duty and mandate to protect people’s rights and their property rights, and giving confidence to foreign investors, and assuring them of the safety of their investments.
Westwood has been in and out of courts fighting for his shares and properties in vain, as there was no sign from the brutal system, that he will recover his lost properties and money from the former Hurungwe legislator. Despite Westwood, approaching Mnangagwa during the 2017 military coup, where ED pledged to the international community to restore legacy on property rights and investor’s confidence, the Zimbabwe leader has not responded to numerous letters written to him by Westwood and his lawyers.
Former Zimbabwe and Scottish based businessman, Paul Westwood who lost his business ten years ago to the then Mashonaland West Zanu PF Chairperson, and the current Norton Independent Legislator Temba Mliswa, who grabbed more than 50 percent shares in Noshio Motors. On this occasion, the Norton Legislator Temba Mliswa, was arrested over illegal occupation, public violence, contempt of court, extortion, malicious damage to property, shop licenses Act violation, Firearms Act violation and housebreaking. Mliswa abused the indigenization laws to grab the properties using the then Security Minister Diydmus Mutasa, to escape accountability. In 2009, Mliswa faced charges of illegal seizing shares worth over $ 1 million from the company and threatening its director, Mr. Paul Westwood that he would make him disappear. The citation on this case, how then does Zimbabwe Government guarantee the safety of the investor, and the property rights issue, which is an obligation on the part of the State’s mandate? It was in the hands of the House of Commons to pressure Zimbabwe’s Government to relook into the matter, which has almost died a natural death, citing the involvement of the state to suppress the impending matter which is still before the courts of law. Scottish legislators led by Peter Grant tabled a motion urging the then Zimbabwe leader, Robert Mugabe, to review the case and facilitate compensation. The motion received backing from more than 15 MPs, from three political parties in the house including the conservatives, labour and liberal democrats. Mliswa stand accused of improperly using indigenization laws to take over shares worth over 1 million for his own personal gain. Paul 51, fled Zimbabwe with his wife and two sons after being given two hours to get out or risk being killed. One of the key persons cited in the case is Never Katiyo, who presided over the case, which has remained pending for over ten years.
In an apparent attempt to get justice over his properties and shares worth 1 million pounds, Westwood have approached the courts through his lawyers citing the impending case against the Norton legislator and the then Mash West Zanu PF Chairman and Hurungwe legislator. Pressure mounts on Mliswa over the saga to return the seized properties belonging to the Scottish based businessman. An attempt to find justice from the current judiciary hits a brick wall, after the courts led by Morgan Nemadire, acquitted the Norton legislator Mliswa. Contacted for comment, the Scottish based businessman, Paul Westwood said in his statement, I will not rest until justice is delivered, and compensation has been given to him. Westwood has already approached the courts to get his looted shares back. There has been a heated argument and verbal assaults between Robert Mugabe’s son Chatunga and Mliswa over Westwood saga, when the latter reminded Mliswa to return back Westwood’s properties which he looted during Mugabe era. Chatunga alleged that Mliswa has been surviving on share of loots from grabbing of farms and properties belonging to prominent people in Zimbabwe. Mliswa stand accused of bringing several companies down after allegations of extortion and bribery has been fingered, claiming that their businesses will be protected.
Coventry invades a farm
LATE former President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Robert Zhuwao has approached the High Court seeking an order to stop Kirsty Coventry from occupying his Zvimba farm. Zhuwao is late Sabina Mugabe’s son and brother to exiled former cabinet minister Patrick Zhuwao. The 232 hectares farm is situated in Zvimbadistrict Mashonaland West province. The Sports Minister Coventry and Lands Minister Perrence Shiriare cited as 1st and 2nd Respondents.
Zhuwao who is currently recovering from brain surgery in Zambia, he has signed the founding affidavit same which notarized and emailed to us to enable us to file the instructed urgent chamber application .Late last year, Lands Minister Perrance Shiri ordered Zhuwao to vacate the farm arguing that the latter was in breach of term and conditions of his offer letter.
Zhuwao was allocated the farm in 2004 under the government’s controversial land reform and claims he has been using it productively. On the 9th of December 2004, he was offered subdivision 1 of Cockington in Zvimba District, in the province of Mashonaland West which is approximately 232.81 hectares in extend,” Zhuwao said in court application filed in January contesting the eviction. The offer was made in terms of the Agricultural Land Resettlement Act Chapter 20:01. I accepted the offer and a clear contractual agreement between the Ministry of Lands Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement and myself.”Shiri signed the withdrawal letter on April 26 last year saying Mugabe’s nephew had abandoned the farm since 2011.Zhuwao said he was shocked to receive another letter on October 16 notifying him of the immediate termination of his contract and argues that reasons for cancellation of the offer letter were fabricated. He also submitted that only President Mnangagwa had the powers to revoke offer letters hence the need for the court to deal with the matter.
These are the signs of a brutal Government which is not ready to reform and protect the rights of investors and guaranteeing the safety of the investor and his properties. The Zimbabwe judiciary system has been cited in numerous cases, where it has been protecting the looters on partisan lines. Mliswa who remains untouchable, has been awarded with positions in society and even chairing the mines portfolio in parliament at a time when his standing in society remains questionable, and his integrity is under spotlight.
Charles Murindo is a Political Analyst who can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org