Farm abandoned after white couple were evicted in favour of Zimbabwean GP | Daily Mail Online
Gone to seed: Farm abandoned after white couple were evicted in favour of Zimbabwean who was a GP in Britain
- Phillip and Anita Rankin were forced off their £1.7million plantation last year
- The farm was given to Sylvester Nyatsuro, a GP from Nottingham
- They were evicted under Robert Mugabe’s land seizure laws
- The laws transfer the property of white people to ‘indigenous’ Africans
A thriving farm seized by Robert Mugabe’s thugs and handed to a Zimbabwean-born British GP has gone to waste.
Phillip and Anita Rankin were forced off the plantation, then worth £1.7million, by armed officers last January.
They were evicted in favour of Sylvester Nyatsuro, who ran a medical practice in Nottingham.
Phillip Rankin, right, and his wife Anita take a walk while admiring their tobacco crop at their Kingston Farm in January last year
The 46-year-old GP and his wife Veronica were allocated the farm under Mugabe’s land seizure laws that transfer the property of white people to ‘indigenous’ Africans.
But at the time the doctor was living in a gated £750,000 home on the outskirts of Nottingham.
On the day of the land grab Mr Rankin, 59, was handcuffed and taken to a police station 80 miles from his home. The farmhouse was stripped of furniture, kitchen equipment and possessions.
The Rankins, who raised their three adult children on the farm they worked for 35 years, were left living in the spare room of another white farmer.
The tobacco plants nurtured by them and their 40 workers have been replaced by weeds. Many of the farm’s boreholes are no longer working and the maize crop has been over-run by weeds. The farm has suffered the fate of many others ruined by Mugabe’s policy of encouraging land invasions against whites.
John Chiweshe, who has a small piece of land nearby, said the Zimbabwean police had been guarding the farm since the Rankin family were evicted.
The Rankins obtained a court order to reclaim the property but could not have it carried out.
‘I have no cash at all. For anything,’ said Mr Rankin. ‘No pension, no home, nothing. I never want to go back to the farm. That is over now. It will be wrecked. Maybe next season I will get a job on a farm growing tobacco for someone else, somewhere else, as I have to earn some money.’
Mr Rankin was born in Zimbabwe but his father was a UK citizen and he is considering applying to become British even though he doesn’t believe he could easily live here.
His wife, Anita, 58, has lived nowhere but on Zimbabwean farms. ‘I can’t even live in a town. I don’t know town life,’ she said.
Mr Rankin said he had heard that Dr Nyatsuro had grown nothing substantial since he took over. An experienced worker said: ‘That maize is pathetic, they won’t get much from that.
‘There is a small tobacco seed bed, but it is far too late to plant tobacco now.
Since Dr Nyatsuro took over many of the workers say they have not been paid.
Mugabe’s ‘land reform’, which started 16 years ago, has seen 90 per cent of white farmers driven from their holdings.
Months after the Rankins were evicted, a photo emerged confirming the links between Dr Nyatsuro and Mugabe. The wealthy doctor and his wife were pictured smiling next to the president’s wife Grace.
Dr Nyatsuro sold his surgery, the Willows Medical Centre, before Christmas for £325,000. His house has also been sold and he is believed to be in Zimbabwe.
His practice had been put into special measures following a damning inspection report.
The Care Quality Commission unearthed a catalogue of failures at the ‘chaotic surgery’ where a healthcare assistant posed as a doctor.
Dr Nyatsuro was unavailable for comment last night.
His lawyer, Fungai Chimwamurombe, said he had legally taken possession of the farm.