THE High Court has set aside its own ruling ordering a retired army general, Edzai Chimonyo, to vacate Fangundu Farm (Pvt) Ltd, which he occupied over the festive season.
Chimonyo is Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania.
The occupation of the plantation may have far-reaching consequences in Zimbabwe’s quest to lure foreign direct investment even from countries it has bilateral trade agreements with.
Justice Joseph Musakwa ruled that an earlier judgment by Justice Tedious Karwi ordering Chimonyo to vacate Fangundu Farm in Burma Valley be set aside on the grounds that he and his lawyers had not been served with court papers.
In his ruling made available yesterday, Justice Musakwa said: “The operation and execution of the default order handed down by Honourable Karwi in case number HC 6541/09 be and is hereby stayed.”
Justice Musakwa said Chimonyo should apply for the recission of the earlier judgment which ruled against him.
Chimonyo’s lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa yesterday said: “Justice Musakwa granted a provisional order suspending the operation and execution of an earlier judgment by Justice Karwi which judgment had required the ambassador to vacate the farm.
“The provisional order was granted principally on the basis that the ambassador and his lawyers had not been served with the original application. The ambassador is now going to apply for a recission of Justice Karwi’s judgment.”
Chimonyo is reportedly back at work in Tanzania but his workers have maintained a sustained presence at the farm in the southeast of Mutare.
Fangudu Farm, a banana plantation in Burma Valley, 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.
The occupied property is protected under a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) which protects foreign investment.