At least 50 Zanu PF youths were yesterday arrested for resisting eviction from a farm in Mt Hampden, allocated to chief law officer in the Attorney-General’s Office Chris Mutangadura.
The arrests triggered protests from some of the youths, claiming to be members of the party’s divided Upfumi Kuvadiki group, who later besieged the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare, in protest.
Mutangadura confirmed the disturbances and arrests of the youths at the Mt Hampden farm.
He described the youths as a group of “thugs and invaders”.
The top AG Office official also claimed that he was the rightful owner of the farm since he had received an offer letter on May 11 this year and later moved to occupy the piece of land previously owned by a farmer whom he only identified as Deacon.
However, Mutangadura claims his occupation of the farm was met with fierce resistance by a group of youths whom he said had been hired by Deacon to block him.
Mutangadura also accused Deacon of sub-letting the farm, saying the act was in contravention of government laws on gazetted land.
“I am the lawful owner of that farm. The previous owner of that gazetted land left far back in 2002 and the person who was there (Deacon) has been unlawfully leasing the farm. He was trying to circumvent the law by leasing a gazetted piece of land and when he left he hired some thugs to evict my people at the farm.”
Mutangadura said attempts to block him from occupying the farm prompted him to obtain a High Court order which he said recognised him as the rightful owner of the farm.
“I only got there (the Mt Hampden farm) on Friday last week after 90 days had lapsed and the white guy actually gave me some of the keys he was using. But these hired thugs came to invade the farm and chased people who were lawfully occupying the farm and I had to seek a High Court order against these people. I have the High Court order which says that I am the lawful owner of that farm.”
Mutangadura said that by arresting the youths, the police were acting within the confines of the law since he was the rightful owner of the farm.
Contacted for comment, police spokesperson Chief Inspector James Sabau said he was not aware of the development as he was attending the Harare Agricultural Show - Newsday.