Bulawayo MP demands protection of property rights after farm eviction threat

Bulawayo North Member of Parliament, Minenhle Gumede, has raised concern over disregarding property rights in Zimbabwe, following an attempt to evict a family from their productive farm.

Her concern comes after the Fletcher family which owns Umvutcha Farm in Umvutcha, on the outskirts of Bulawayo, faced eviction from their land after the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development,  allegedly placed an erroneous caveat on the property.

Umvutcha Farm produces and supplies vegetables to several supermarkets in Bulawayo.

This legal dispute had led the Fletcher family into a years-long battle to reclaim ownership and remain on their land, where, just before Christmas, unknown individuals raided the farm and ordered the family to leave.


Police later arrested two suspects who were part of the crowd attempting to evict the family from their property and stated they were still conducting investigations to determine who was behind the invasion.

In an interview with CITE, the Bulawayo North MP whose constituency covers Umvutcha Farm said the value of land in an agricultural economy needs no emphasis. However, it was concerning how some individuals did not respect land as a property right.

“I have received a report of a farm invasion within my constituency where people who are not locals have already started pegging land and the family has barricaded themselves for their security in their farmhouse,” Gumede said.

Gumede said Umvutcha Farm is important to the community because it employs a significant number of people within Bulawayo.

“The invaders that have taken over are not from this province, meaning they have no appreciation of the losses we stand to face as Bulawayo. Some long-term employees were working and residing at this farm who will be homeless very soon if that caveat is not looked into leading to the farm invasion,” she said.

The legislator noted that over the years, there have been fights over the size of the farm as it stretches up to the airport area.

“What is happening now though is that the invasion has taken place but we do not want a situation where the family is harmed as they have been part of us for the past 40 years and play a big role not just in employment but even in terms of assisting our community in kind during times of need,” Gumede said.

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