Bona Mugabe’s hubby Simba challenges farm downsizing. This was after Lands Minister Anxious Masuka published the rural Land (Farm sizes) (amendment) regulations, 2020 (No 2) (SI 41 of 2020) on February 14, 2020, to facilitate the reduction of commercial sizes for redistribution to other farmers.
Bona Mugabe, the daughter of the late former President Robert Mugabe and her husband Simbarashe Mutsahuni have approached the High Court challenging the downsizing of their 1 800-hectare Mazowe farm.
Mutsahuni and Bona said the SI was unconstitutional as the minister failed to consider important issues that were brought about by the new law. In the court papers that cite Masuka and attorney-general Prince Machaya as respondents, the couple said:
The applicant has a direct interest in this matter, having been affected by the application of the provisions of SI 41 of 2020. The amendment was done in terms of section 21 of the Land Commission Act (Chapter 20;29) repealing provisions of the rural Land (Farm sizes) regulations, 1999, published in SI 419 of 1999.
Statutory Instrument 41 of 2020 sought to alter the sizes of land which can be held under the various natural regions in Zimbabwe. The couple holds an offer letter under Model A2 Phase ii, in respect of subdivision Consolidation measuring 1 804, 9719 hectares of Sigaro Farm, Mazowe district in Mashonaland province, which was granted on June 22, 2017, by the Lands minister.
The couple argued Masuka’s downsizing exercise was unfair since the new SI came into effect when the old SI 419 of 1999 was in full effect.
They argued that despite the fact that laws cannot be applied in retrospection, the minister did not adhere to the provisions of these regulations and proceeded to allocate individuals’ land sizes beyond the prescribed sizes under SI 419 of 1999.
He said they were not given any discretion to consider the suitability of the prescribed farm size against the extent of any investments made by farmers affected and the extent of utilization. The matter is yet to be heard.