Story so far …
‘land grab’ creating unintended ripples. Zimbabwean born British doctor forcibly acquires the farm and homestead of white tobacco growers. Zimbabwe’s first family has has fingered for complicity in the scheme …the Mugabes deny knowing doctor’s family
Black British doctor, Nyatsuro, seized white family’s farm in Zimbabwe
The white Rankin family had lived on Zimbabwe tobacco farm for 35 years
AK47s wielding Thugs working for British-Zimbabwean GP cited in ‘land grab’ took control of the farm and dumped the Rankins’ possessions in a truck
Photographs here show Grace Mugabe posing with wealthy Nottingham doctor Sylvester
Yatsuro and his wife Veronica … suggesting the Nyatsuros have a connection to Mugabe family
Dr Nyatsuro and his wife run The Willows Medical Centre in Nottingham, a health and slimming clinic
Robert Mugabe’s policy of ‘land reform’ has been running for 16 years, with 90 per cent of white farmers in Zimbabwe seeing their land taken and given to black people instead.
The government insists it is necessary to reduce the whites’ economic dominance which dates back to the colonial era – but opponents claim it is a tyrannical and unfair process which bears little relation to justice. Mugabe said that the British took the land in the 1890’s and Zimbabweans are claiming it back. Most of the land is then given to pro Zanu PF supporters.
How is the program working out ?
Evidence: This picture shows Grace Mugabe, wife of the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, posing with British doctor Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife, Veronica, who seized a farm from a white couple
These photographs however, suggest at least, that Zimbabwe-born British doctor, Nyatsuros, can now be linked to the ruling Mugabe family for the first time.
The photographs showing the couple posing with first lady Grace Mugabe have led pro-democracy campaigners to accuse the first family of corruption.
‘These pictures show the tentacles of Mugabe’s cronyism reaching all the way to Nottingham,’ Rose Benton, from UK-based campaign group Zimbabwe Vigil, told MailOnline. ‘It’s astonishing that such corruption can be allowed to continue.’
It is unclear where and when the pictures were taken.These extraordinary photographs show that a wealthy British doctor who controversially seized a white family’s 2,000-acre farm in Zimbabwe knows tyrant Robert Mugabe’s wife.
Grace Marufu Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first Lady
Sylvester Nyatsuro, 45, took over a tobacco plantation belonging to Phillip and Anita Rankin, who were frog-marched off their land by AK47-wielding thugs.
The Rankins, who bought the land 35 years ago, were handcuffed and taken away in police lorries on the orders of Nottingham-based Dr Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica, 45.
Phillip Rankin and his wife Anita are now staying with a relative 15 miles away from Harare
The Rankins were forced off the farm by armed thugs who padlocked the gates behind them. here Police stormed the property at dawn. The couple say that police have taken over their home and stopped them working on the farm
It is unclear where and when the pictures were taken.
The couple run a weight-loss clinic in Nottingham, where they live with their three children in a gated, five-bedroom home which they bought for £730,000 in 2006.
They also own a number of rental properties. Dr Nyatsuro drives a Mercedes sports car.
The couple refused to respond to MailOnline’s requests for comment. But they told the Zimbabwean press that the Mugabe family had played no role in the land seizure.
The Rankins were forced out of the tobacco plantation last month, amid chaotic scenes in which armed thugs took control of the farm. Their worldly possessions were driven away in police lorries.
They had tended the land for over three decades since purchasing it from another farmer, and the flourishing business they built up is now understood to be worth up to £1.7million.
Grace Mugabe and Veronica Nyatsuro are seen smiling for the camera with a group of children
Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, 92, and his wife Grace, celebrating his birthday last week
A glimmer of hope for the dispossessed family came on Wednesday, when Zimbabwe’s High Court issued an order granting them the right to enter the farm while a full enquiry was launched.
But today the Rankins were too scared to approach the property, as at least 20 armed men – including one who claims to be Mrs Nyatsuro’s brother – remained in their family home.
Witnesses say the thugs show ‘no sign of leaving’ the farm, which is located about 140 miles north east of the capital Harare.
Labourers are desperately harvesting and curing the valuable tobacco crop before it spoils, under direction from Mr Rankin via mobile phone.
The eviction of the Rankins was caught on camera by a neighbour, using his mobile phone.
In the pictures, a squad of about 20 armed men can be seen seizing the property and hauling Phillip Rankin, 57, and his family away in handcuffs while the gates are padlocked behind them.
Some of the Rankins’ furniture and personal effects are seen being thrown into the back of a police lorry, which is driven away by armed men while Mr Rankin looks on in disbelief.
Bewildered laborers look on as the farm is taken over by police officers and thugs armed with guns
Many Zimbabwean activists are questioning why the Rankins’ farm should be given to a British doctor who has made his home on another continent and is already wealthy in his own right.
Dr Nyatsuro has faced protests at his clinic in Nottingham, with more scheduled over the coming weeks.
The Rankin family have been left destitute. Anita Rankin, who farmed the tobacco fields with her husband for more than three decades, wept as she described the trauma of losing everything they own.
She told MailOnline: ‘They would come to the kitchen door and stare at us and they made so much noise. It was a very tough situation and it went on and on.
‘We don’t know where we will live or what we will do. I am born and bred on a farm. I don’t know town life. And I only know Zimbabwe.’
The Rankins are now staying with their son Barry in Harare as they contemplate how to claim back the tobacco crop they planted and move on with their lives.
The couple say that police have taken over their home and stopped them working on the farm. The Rankins say they know nothing but farming after working the land on their property for 35 years