Farm wrangles continue

Judge orders white farmers to disclose previous court applications


September 4, 2017

HIGH Court judge Justice Clement Phiri last Wednesday ordered Marondera white farmers, Stephen and Phillip Worswick, to disclose all previous applications they have made to safeguard their farms to enable the judges to properly deal with the farm wrangles and bring the matters to finality.

Justice Phiri made the remarks after the Worswick brothers, through their lawyer, filed an application seeking to compel Mashonaland East chief lands officer and Lands minister Douglas Mombershora, to issue them with offer letters.

The Worswick brothers also sought an order to declare as unlawful and wrongful the alleged allocation of their farms to Foreign Affairs deputy minister Edgar Mbwembwe and Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial political commissar, Herbert Shumbamhini.

“I have dealt with an urgent application associated with this matter and my sister judge (Justice Edith) Mushore also dealt with another same matter. The registrar of the High Court tells me there are several similar matters pending before the court and as for the urgent chamber application, which I dealt with, there was no appearance for the applicants (Worswick brothers),” Justice Phiri said.

“I, therefore suggest that the applicants be candid enough and highlight all the cases before this court so as to avoid confusion … it may well be that the order I granted dealt with some issues you have raised in this matter . . . applicants should be candid and disclose all the other files so that the matters are brought to finality.

“I am directing that you (lawyer) place before the judge, who is going to deal with these matters, all the other files and find out the effect of my dismissal of the urgent application in which there was no appearance for the applicants and the effect of the consent order granted by Justice Mushore.

Applicants have filed a multiplicity of applications raising different issues,” Justice Phiri said and postponed the matters to Wednesday.

Sometime in July this year the Worswick brothers approached the High Court claiming Mombeshora was refusing to issue them with offer letters and offered the land to Mbwembwe and Shumbamhini and others.

The farmers said they were seeking an order declaring that: “The second and third respondents’ (chief lands officer and Mombeshora) failure to give reasons for re-allocating the same piece of land, which the respondents had allocated to applicants, is held to be unlawful and wrongful and that the second and third respondents are ordered to issue applicants with an offer letters.”

In the court papers, Phillip claims his farm was allocated to Shumbamhini, while Stephen claims his farm was allocated to Mbwembwe.