ZIMBABWE – After months besieged on their farm at Centenary, 20 police armed with AK 47s on Friday forcibly evicted Phillip Rankin and his wife.
The farm has long been coveted by British medical practitioner Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica, who are reported to be connected to Grace Mugabe.
Mrs Nyatsuro is alleged to have planted invaders on the farm when she was over last year on a visit from the UK.
Zimbabwe human rights campaigner Ben Freeth said the police had shown no legal documents to justify their action, whichcomes while court proceedings are still going on. He said he had advised Mr Rankin to quote section 74 of the constitution which says no person may be evicted from their home without a court order. ‘The police just laughed at them’.
The police refused access to lawyers acting for Mr Rankin, loaded his furniture onto lorries along with Mr Rankin and drove off. We understand he was later released.
Freeth added: ‘Despite the drought the Rankins are in the middle of harvesting wonderful crops this season. A message from another observer said: it’s the end of the month so who pays the workers, what happens to them now?’
The Vigil has staged several demonstrations outside Dr Nyatsuro’s clinic in Nottingham questioning why a British citizen resident in the United Kingdom for the past 10 years should seek to dispossess a Zimbabwean citizen who bought his farm in Zimbabwe with the approval of the Mugabe government.
The Nyatsuros threatened legal action against us – a tactic they have successfully used to intimidate the media. We invited Dr Nyatsuro to our forum last week to explain himself. We were told they wanted to talk to us but he did not come.
On Monday (25/01/2016) we emailed Mrs Nyatsuro that we would take further action if they did not drop their claim to the farm and requested a reply within 7 days. In a phone call Mrs Nyatsuro said she was going to Zimbabwe the next day.
The behaviour of the Nyatsuros has disgusted Zimbabwe exiles in the UK and the Vigil is to protest outside their Nottingham clinic on Friday 5th February (see Events and notices for details).
The Vigil will also be running the following petition to Prime Minister David Cameron calling for an investigation into the Nyatsuros.
Petition to UK Prime Minister DavidCameron
Zimbabwean exiles in the United Kingdom and sympathisers are appalled by the behaviour of Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica who run the Willows Medical Centre in Nottingham
Dr Nyatsuro is a British citizen, long resident in this country, yet he has illegally seized a farm in Zimbabwe owned by a white Zimbabwean farmer, Mr Phillip Rankin, who bought it with the approval of the Mugabe government. Dr Nyatsuro and his wife are reported to be connected to Grace Mugabe.
We are puzzled why a British doctor should want a farm in Zimbabwe since he and his wife are apparently in full-time employment here and have no known farming expertise in a country facing starvation
We ask your government to consider revoking Dr Nyatsuro’s citizenship on the grounds that ‘it was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact’. House of Commons Library). We also question his suitability to run an NHS clinic in Nottingham while farming in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s friends abroad are increasingly anxious at the failure of the Mugabe government to declare a state of emergency so that international agencies can start campaigning for donor funds to alleviate food shortages.
A ROHR supporter in Zimbabwe drew our attention to an article on the Masvingo Mirror website about the drastic effects of the food shortage
We have been in contact with diaspora publisher Kennedy Madhombiro who is asking for poetry submissions from Zimbabwe Vigil members for possible publication.
Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Rashiwe Bayisayi, Benjamin Chigamba, John Chipudhla, Joseph Chivayo, Arnold Dube, Barbara Kachidza, Fungayi Mabhunu, Jenniffer Maritsa, Sharon, Nyasha and Tanatswa Moyo, Roseline Mukucha,Rosemary Mupunga and Chipo Parirenyatwa. Thanks to Sharon, Rashiwe and Roseline Mukucha for looking after the front table. Thanks to Benjami and Arnold for putting up the banners and thanks to ROHR Central London branch for bringing food to raise funds for ROHR.