Senior police officers in Manicaland province were blocking Bennett from accessing the farm to collect his property he left after government compulsorily acquired the farm.
Bennett’s lawyers, Honey and Blanckenberg, in a letter to Messrs Jakachira and company who are representing ARDA, said Bennett was blocked by senior police officers, who threatened Bennett’s wife with death.
“We confirm that our client did indeed go to Chimanimani. All other cars were allowed to pass without incident. Only our client’s entourage was stopped. The road block was mounted by very senior police officers, some of whom had guns and some who appeared intoxicated,” read the letter by Honey and Blanckenberg addressed to Jakachira and company legal practitioners.
“Our client’s wife was threatened with death. Unprintable words were said to our client.He, upon pain of injury and death, was then compelled to turn back and return. The whole experience was harrowing.”
Honey and Blanckenberg wrote the letter after ARDA said they will only assist Bennett to move his equipment if he pays the government owned estate expenses to be incurred by the estate’s staff who will assist Bennett when he wishes to remove his property. ARDA said they will only assist Bennett if he agrees to pay “fuel ,food , accommodation, travelling and subsistence allowances,”for the estate’s staff.
ARDA argued that on March 27, 2010 the estate had travelled to Charleswood estate but was disappointed that Bennett did not arrive to move his equipment.
However, Honey and Blanckenberg said they believed ARDA was working hand in glove with the police to frustrate their client from accessing Charleswood farm.
“Our client believes that this road block was mounted at the instigation of your client.To that end our client is not responsible for the costs incurred by yours but will look at yours to settle his,” Honey and Blanckenberg wrote to ARDA lawyers.
Bennett has been struggling to remove his property from Charleswood estate for years, and they have been reports that some of the property including bulldozers and tractors were missing from the farm.
Meanwhile three of the few remaining commercial farmers in the Umguza commercial farming area in Matabeleland North have been chased away from their properties by Zanu (PF) supporters.
The three farmers, Griefs, Fawcett and Taylor were being accused of among other things refusing to assist resettled farmers with farming inputs as well as failing to attend Zanu (PF) meetings in the area.
Ironically the plight of the three commercial farmers was raised by the local chief, Deli Mabhena during the Matabeleland North provincial fire awareness campaign lunch which was held at Nyamandlovu Farmers Hall last week.
“We have a problem here and it regards the harassment of the white farmers that we live with here. The three farmers –Griefs, Fawcett and Taylor – have come under pressure from people who want to chase them away from their farms.
Some people are saying they should be removed from their farms because they were not attending Zanu (PF) meetings.
There are some police officers who have already been deployed in their farms who are waiting to arrest them as soon as they come back,” said the chief amid ululation and applause from the public.
The chief said last week on Thursday; he confronted Obert Mpofu, the local Member of parliament over the issue.Mpofu is believed to have ordered the deployment of the police officers at the three commercial farmers‘s farms.
Sources told Radio VOP that Bukhosi Mpofu, one of the minister’s sons is eyeing one of the farms.
Chief Ringisai Chikukwa of Chimanimani three months ago clashed with Zanu (PF) supporters in the area after he openly supported Roy Bennett’s bid to reclaim his Pachedu farm, which was forcibly taken from the former legislator of the area by Zanu (PF) supporters and war veterans during the height of the land invasions in 2002.