A gang armed with AK47 guns forced Phillip Rankin and his wife Anita from their £1million farm land
The 2,000-acre property was seized and given to Zimbabwean-born Dr Sylvester Nyatsurowho lives 7,500 miles away in Nottingham.
Campaigners claim the latest incident is another example of the 91-year-old president seizing land from white farmers and giving it to black Zimbabweans as part of his ‘land reform’ programme.
A petition has called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to revoke Dr Nyatsuro’s UK citizenship
Dozens of protestors gathered outside his Willow Medical Centre in Carlton, Nottingham to campaign against the latest land grab late last week.
A petition which started earlier this week called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to revoke Dr Nyatsuro’s UK citizenship and has already garnered more than 4,000 signatures.
A Zimbabwe-based solicitor for the family, Fungai Chimwamurombe, insisted the doctor has “no connections at all” to President Mugabe.
The Zimbabwe-born GP is believed to be close to dictator Robert Mugabe
Mr Chimwamurombe added the Rankins had not been able to prove that they are the rightful owners of the land.
The lawyer from Danziger and Partners explained: “The government’s position is that the farm was acquired over a decade ago. Any Zimbabwean has a right to benefit from the land reform programme.
“The issue here is not between our client and Mr Rankin because he is only a third party who applied generally for land years back.
“He was on the waiting list for a long time and was offered this state land on the strength of his application.”
Protest outside Dr Nyatsuro’s clinic this week
Meanwhile, the GP’s wife, Victoria Nyatsuro has also denied rumours she is related to Mugabe’s wife Grace.
The wealthy couple own two luxurious homes in Nottingham as well as Mercedes sports cars.
When approached earlier this week, the 45-year-old GP refused to apologise to the Rankins for their eviction.
Nyasha Mupta, a law officer at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Lands, said: “The piece of land was acquired by the state in 2005.
“Since then, it’s only the person who has an offer letter issued by the Ministry of Lands that has authority for the land – that’s the Nyatsuro’s.”
The gang after seizing the farm property
The couple were led away in handcuffs by “thugs” who locked the farm’s gates behind them and threw their belongings into a police van.
Mr Rankin, who is currently staying with relatives at a nearby farm, said he was “terribly shocked” by the dawn eviction.
One of his children, Barry, 32, said: “I think we have finally accepted that we are not going back to the farm. We are all finished.”
The family said the home is now under guard by seven members of the police who have prevented workers from using the tractor.
Men armed with AK47 machine guns patrolling the property
He said: “It was our business – but more important than that, it was our home. We have never owned anything other than the farm and that’s gone in one weekend.
“It doesn’t make sense to me, how a doctor who lives in the UK can come and take our land.”
The gang locked the Rankins out of their own farm
She added: ‘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 couple had employed 40 permanent workers and at least 20 casuals during peak season.
A Foreign Office spokesman voiced concern that the seizure of the farm “did not follow the process as described by the constitution”.
A spokesman said: “We are aware of the allegation that the beneficiary of this farm may be a British citizen.”-express