Thirty-one families are facing imminent eviction from a farm in Banket measuring more than 624 hectares to accommodate Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Wurayayi Mhondoro.

According to source, Ben Mutambu and 20 others appeared before a Chinhoyi magistrate last week and were granted US$40 bail each for illegally occupying gazetted land.

On Monday, 12 February, Vitalis Guviro (56) of Plot 8 Lion Kopje farm, Banket was arraigned before Chinhoyi Magistrate Rumbidzai Tshuma charged with contravening Section 3 (1) of the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act Chapter 20:28 for refusing to vacate part of the property that now belongs to Chief Zvimba.

Guviro was remanded on bail to 26 February for trial when an application for joinder with co-accused persons will be tendered.

The complainant in the matter is the State represented by lands officer, Wilfred Bika.

Prosecuting, Brighton Machekera alleged that on 06 July 2001, the Government of Zimbabwe acquired and gazetted Lion Kopje farm measuring 624.402 ha in extent.

The farm situated in the Zvimba District was planned by the relevant ministry and initially parcelled out to A1 farmers, who were granted offer letters.

It is further alleged that on 30 June 2010, the farm was changed to an A2 (commercial) farm and all A1 offer letters were withdrawn by the Ministry of Lands, including Plot 8 where Guviro is residing.

The whole of Lion Kopje farm was subsequently allocated to Chief Zvimba who was granted an offer letter in 2012.

It was heard the accused person was served with a withdrawal of land offer and also handed a relocation offer, but he refused to sign it.

This comes as the Government has embarked an exercise dubbed “Operation Order No To Land Barons” to remove people accused of being irregularly settled on State land.

Over the past few weeks, scores of villagers who have been living on the land for the past two decades have been arraigned before the courts for alleged illegal settlement and are now homeless.