A SPRAWLING farm north of Mutare City belonging to mercurial Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandiitawepi Chimene has been earmarked for partitioning into residential stands
Fairholme Farm — renamed Sendekera Farm after being seized from a commercial white farmer during the year 2000 chaotic land reform programme — is located in the prime agricultural area of Penhalonga near Mutare.
Plans are currently underway to transform the property which falls under Mutasa Rural District Council (RDC) into a residential suburb. Mutasa RDC chief executive officer, George Bandure, confirmed receiving an application to sub-divide the farm into residential stands but could not disclose the name of the applicant. “All the necessary requirements were largely complied with in line with the enabling statutes,” he said.
Bandure said the farm falls within proposed plans for the expansion of the mountainous City of Mutare.He however, said the process to transfer the property could only take place once the city fathers in the eastern border city had approached Mutasa RDC for permission. As it is, Mutasa RDC is only in receipt of an application for change of land use from the Ministry of Local Government.
Chimene told the Financial Gazette that she no longer owns the farm. “Last year, Mutare’s city fathers concluded that Mutare was a land-choked city due to the mountainous terrain and they were in the hunt for land from government. The city master plan seeks to establish new land in the general western side and the northern side of the city,” she said.
“I have not partitioned the farm into residential stands. That farm is no longer mine, it now belongs to the City of Mutare and it was included in Mutare’s master plan, which is why you read in the papers that I now have new land in Rusape although I haven’t been given the land, but it is part of the plan.”
Chimene is now eyeing Mon-Agri Farm, which is mired in controversy. The farm belongs to Christine Murembwe, a former aide to ex-presidential affairs minister Didymus Mutasa.
Chimene had reportedly invaded the farm in July last year after Mutasa described the ZANU-PF land reform programme as a “monumental failure”, a statement which allegedly angered Chimene who sprang into action by invading Mon-Agri Farm, which she had mistakenly thought to be owned by Mutasa.
High Court judge Justice David Mangota has since ordered Chimene to vacate the property. Regarding Sendekera Farm, there appears to be confusion over the new status of the farm. Local Government Ministry permanent secretary, George Mlilo told the Financial Gazette that the Ministry does not deal with rural councils, but urban authorities only.
Mutare mayor, Tatenda Nhamarare, also said he was not aware of council’s plans to extend its boundaries to incorporate Sendekera Farm