Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro, who runs The Willows Medical Centre in Carlton, this week kicked out Zimbabwe born farmer Phillip Rankin, with both parties claiming rights to a smallholding which is used to grow tobacco.
Mr Rankin, who bought the land in 1983 for 110,000 dollars, says the GP, his wife Veronica, and various officials from the Zimbabwean police and the Government department which allocates land, have been trying to force him from the farm since September 18.
But lawyers representing the doctor deny the claims, saying he is a “peaceful individual” taking possession of the farm “in a lawful manner”.
The issue of “land grabs” in Zimbabwe has been in the headlines since 2000 with President Robert Mugabe accused of taking land from white farmers to give to black people with no land.
Mr Rankin, a 57-year-old white man – his parents are British – who was born in Zimbabwe, told the Post: “I was given a letter and told I had to be out of the house within 30 days.”
Mr Rankin said Dr Nyatsuro and about 15 officials returned a week later and again made demands, but were refused entry.
Mr Rankin, who is married to Anita, added: “I have nowhere to go. I’m a Zimbabwean citizen and my wife is third-generation Zimbabwean.
“I bought the farm from the Government for 110,000 dollars and it’s now worth between 400,000 and 600,000 dollars. If he takes the last bit, I have nothing left.”
Freeths law firm, in Nottingham, which is representing Dr Nyatsuro in the case, released a statement to the Post saying that he was entitled to the land.
It read: “Dr Nyatsuro became eligible to take possession of a farm in Zimbabwe in a lawful manner in full accordance with the requirements of the Government’s Minister of Land and Rural Settlement.
“This means that he had to wait several years before becoming eligible to take the area of land in question.
“There is no question of Dr Nyatsuro being given undue preference.”
The statement also denied that Dr Nyatsuro visited the farm on October 9.
It read: “In fact, he was in the UK on that date. Whilst other members of his family attended, accompanied by a lands officer and two police officers, there was no ‘gang’ present, no violence or intimidation of any sort occurred on that date, and the police were on hand to ensure that there was no inappropriate behaviour.”
Patients at Dr Nyatsuro’s surgery in Carlton spoke of their shock at the allegations.
Ivy Laing, an 85-year-old mother-of-four and grandmother-of-nine, of Carlton, said: “I really like him – he has been really good for me. I find him very thoughtful and he listens. I’m surprised to hear about this.”
Mrs Laing’s sister, Dorothy Green, an 80-year-old mother-of-one, also of Carlton, said: “I’m really shocked to hear this.
“It’s surprised me. He is lovely as a doctor.”
A spokesman for the General Medical Council said the council would not comment on any allegations made against a health professional unless there was going to be a tribunal hearing, though the council would look into any allegations made.
Founder of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Network (ZDSN)
GP Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro has founded the Zimbabwe Diaspora Network (ZDSN) an organization to help rebuild and strengthen Zimbabwe.
The organization was founded on May 2 in Nottingham where Dr Nyatsuro is based, his wife Veronica Nyatsuro also helps in running the organisation.
Dr Nyatsuro also runs a weight loss clinic and is the first ever General Practitioner in the United Kingdom to spearhead the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, an association of specialist doctors in the area of weight loss and management.
Doctor Nyatsuro qualified almost 20 years ago at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) medical school. He specialised in General Practice and is a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners. He has owned a Medical Centre in Nottingham for the last 12 years. His interests are in Primary Healthcare and is in the Clinical Cabinet of the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.
He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Education amongst other medical diplomas and is involved in the training of doctors who are specialising to become General Practitioners. Dr Nyatsuro is a passionate about Public Health and hence a Masters Degree in Public Health (Management and Leadership – Sheffield University).
Dr Nyatsuro has a keen interest in the Zimbabwean healthcare system and has been actively involved when ever he visits the country.
According to Dr Nyatsuro : “The Zimbabwean community in the diaspora is diverse, and hardworking, well- educated,very entrepreneurial. The group includes successful doctors, engineers, educators, nurses, lawyers, restaurateurs, social workers and labourers amongst others. Regardless of their professionals background most of them are happy to share their skills with the home country, hence the creation of the DSN”.
The organization is not affiliated to any political parties in or outside Zimbabwe.
“Our aim is to facilitate and put structures and processes that will enable the local Zimbabweans to tap into this knowledge, skills and talent base to revitalize both the public and private sector institutions in Zimbabwe” added Dr Nyatsuro.
ZDSN offers an opportunity for Zimbabweans from all walks of life to return to Zimbabwe voluntarily, to share expertise and help with the development of the country on a permanent or temporary basis spreading skills and knowledge among local professionals.
The Zimbabwean Diaspora is able to support Zimbabwe beyond just remittances. Apart from benefiting from the remittance that Diaspora Communities contribute, Zimbabwe can also benefit if the skills from the Diaspora Community is harnessed.
DSN has created a professionals database of professionals who are happy to share their skills during their visits to Zimbabwe.
Currently there is no comprehensive database of professional in the diaspora .The organization has organized these professionals and they are linked to various organizations in Zimbabwe according to o their skill set. Diaspora through mobilization of these skill sets brain gain will take place counter balancing the Brain drain, a problem Zimbabwe faced a few years ago.
The DSN has offered a platform for the diaspora communities to make a difference by giving back to Zimbabwe.
Through ZDSN there will be a facilitation of knowledge and technology transfer initiatives, by establishing linkages with relevant institutions or organizations public or private in Zimbabwe.
ZDSN will identify challenges and opportunities associated with the existing policies and directives related with the Diaspora overall engagement in Zimbabwe. This will then lead to working hard with partners in and outside Zimbabwe to eliminate the barriers in order for the country to benefit as a whole.
To give back to Zimbabwe all that professionals need to do is to register on the website www.diasporaskills.org
When they offer their skills and services in Zimbabwe it will be on a voluntary basis and no charges will be incurred.
Zimbabwe is set to benefit from the tapping into the skills of its emigrant professionals and non-professionals in order to improve the quality of training programs through arranged voluntary work by Diaspora professionals abroad. This will in turn partly solve the brain drain problems created by migration.
This can be done through short term engagements in both the public and private sectors of Zimbabwe with the aim easing the manpower problems in the country. All skilled and qualified professionals, trainers or lecturers can get involved in this new and exciting programme and give as little as a day or longer to help in this great effort.
Zimbabweans from all walks of life who are in the diaspora will easily be able to participate in the government Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) project.