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    Sunday, 17 April 2016

    Mvuma man loses stand after staying 6 years in jail


    - A 56-year-old man from Mvuma lost his piece of land after he was incarcerated for six years.
    Peter Musipa got the shock of his life to find himself in court for defying an order for him to vacate a piece of land that originally belonged to him. The stand had been repossessed by Chirumanzi Rural District Council (RDC).
    Musipa was ordered to leave Stand Number 7 of Finale Resettlement area in Mvuma that was formerly his, after a dispute arose between him and Martha the new owner of the land. The land was allocated to Musipa in 2001. However, he was imprisoned for six years, from 2009 to 2015, and the land was repossessed by Chirumanzi RDC after it was deemed idle. It was then sold to the complainant in the matter, Tendai Gonya.
    Musipa appeared before Magistrate Vimbai Makora on Thursday last week and pleaded not guilty to the charge of contempt of court. He said he never obtained any written document that ordered him to vacate the land in question.
    "Your worship, I did not take heed to the Police's word of mouth because it was difficult for me to believe that I was being chased away from my own piece of land," he said.
    Prosecutor Bernard Nyoni told the court that the council can repossess land if it is lying idle.
    Musipa, however, claimed that he is still the rightful owner of the land in dispute since he had left the land unoccupied because of some circumstances beyond his control. He told the court that when he went to prison, he left his daughters at his homestead but they later got married and left the land with no one to look after it.
    He also told the court that while in prison, he wrote letters,  that he could produce as exhibits, to both the District Administrator and the RDC informing them that he was still under imprisonment but he would eventually come back to reoccupy  his land.
     He said when he was released from prison, he went straight to his home and was shocked to find someone else already occupying the land.
    "When I went home upon completion of my jail sentence, I found out that my home had been destroyed. I had nowhere to go so I went to inquire from the council lands officer why they had allocated my land to someone else. He ordered me to go back to my piece of land.  I went there and constructed a hut, some metres away from where the complainant had constructed her homestead."
    However, the complainant in the matter, Gonya argued that she was the rightful owner of the land because she had an offer letter, a proof that she had legally purchased the land. The matter was remanded to April 11 2016 for judgement.
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