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RETIRED army general, Edzai Chimonyo, yesterday approached the High Court in Harare seeking to quash a ruling by the same court last week ordering him to vacate Fangundu Farm (Pvt) Ltd, which he occupied over the festive season.

Judgement in Chimonyo’s appeal will be handed down today by Justice Joseph Musakwa.

Fangudu Farm, a banana plantation in Burma Valley, south east of Mutare, is owned by Matanuska (Pvt) Ltd, a farming entity whose shareholders are Malaysian and Dutch property investors. Their company, Property Route Toute BV, is registered in The Netherlands and recognised and approved as an investor through the Zimbabwe Investment Centre Act.

Chimonyo, Zimbabwe ambassador to Tanzania, was last week ordered by Justice Tedious Karwi to vacate Fangundu Farm after ruling that his occupation of the banana plantation was illegal.

But the former army general appears to be digging in. His lawyers, Antonio & Mlotshwa challenged the ruling on the grounds that they were not aware of a court application lodged against the ambassador by Matanuska.

Gerald Mlotshwa said: “There was a provisional order against my client last week. My client was not served with any papers so he was not aware of the case. So we want the order to be set aside on that basis.”

David Drury, who is representing Matanuska, confirmed the new development.

The appeal by Chimonyo came as it emerged the Malaysian and Dutch investors were due in Harare any day to register their displeasure with government over the occupation of their banana plantation by the retired army general.

The occupied property is protected under a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement which protects foreign investment.

An official from Matanuska revealed on Wednesday that a four-man delegation was due to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Harare any day this week to meet with government officials.

“A board meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the situation here in Zimbabwe and it was resolved that a four-man team be dispatched to meet with officials from the government of Zimbabwe over the issue,” said the official who declined to be named.

The official said individuals believed to be soldiers were still camped at Fangundu Farm despite the court ruling ordering them to vacate the property but they had since stopped harvesting bananas from the occupied plantation.

 

Kelvin Jakachira

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