The occupation of farms protected by bilateral investment agreements is one of the contentious property rights issues keeping investors at bay, 19 months after President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a coalition.
Catherine Jouineau-Meredith says she has been trying to get Tsvangirai’s help since February last year after Zanu PF Senator Jamaya Muduvuri occupied her Twyford farm. The farmhouse was burnt down on September 14.
“All the promises given to me personally by you and your office have stood empty and no action has ever been undertaken to rectify all the illegalities that have taken place since February 6 2009 when the farm was occupied by Mr Muduvuri,” she said in a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office dated September 21.
Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka, however, yesterday said the premier was aware of the case and had made efforts to help.
The farm is also protected by a provisional High Court order issued on January 27 2007.
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Deon Theron yesterday said the incident was one of several that his organisation had been informed of around the country.
“We know about the incident and the farm is indeed protected by a French Bippa. The owners are French nationals. Of late there has been a resurgence of violent disputes at some of the farms countrywide. We have received reports of two or three incidents per district,” said Theron.
Jouineau-Meredith claims that she has lost 15 hectares of seed maize, 50 hectares of seed sorghum, 25 hectares of citrus, 30 hectares of sweet potatoes, five hectares of commercial maize, 220 sheep and 26 head of cattle.
Twyford farm was one of the farms visited by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and a high powered inter-party ministerial delegation in April last year in a bid to stop farm invasions. —Staff writer.