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Obert Mpofu offered part of disputed Esidakeni farm

by Staff reporter
05 Nov 2021 at 17:13hrs | Views
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu was allocated part of a disputed farm in Nyamandlovu where the son of former ZAPU stalwart Sydney Malunga faces eviction, ZimLive has learnt.

Siphosami Malunga, a prominent rights activist and executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, is challenging a planned government takeover of the farm he bought in 2017.

The government said it gazetted the farm for mandatory acquisition to resettle 14 landless indigenous people, but only Dumisani Madzivanyathi, a National University of Science and Technology lecturer, and Central Intelligence Organisation agent Reason Mpofu, have so far come forward as intended beneficiaries. Reason is a nephew of the former mines minister, whose spell overseeing the country's international sale of minerals including diamonds with dogged by persistent allegations of corruption.

ZimLive has now obtained an offer letter dated June 30, 2021, which shows that 145 hectares of the 550-hectare Esidakeni Farm in Umguza, Matabeleland North, was allocated to Mswelangubo Farm, a company owned by Mpofu.

Lands minister Anxious Masuka signed the offer letter, which came at least two months after Malunga and his partners Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo had written to him clarifying Esidakeni's present ownership.

"I am pleased to offer to Mswelangubo Farm the following farm which was compulsorily acquired in Umguza district, Matabeleland North province, for use by Mswelangubo Farm," Masuka said in the offer letter.

The letter added that the farm was for "institutional use" by Mpofu's Mswelangubo Farm, "and shall remain state land on which terms and conditions for state land apply."

Revelations that Mpofu, who already owns at least two farms, was allocated land at Esidakeni will embarrass the Zanu-PF government and expose its "one man one farm" policy as a charade.

As Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Mpofu is the fifth most senior figure in the party. He exerts a lot of influence in Matabeleland North, where he owns a sprawling farm with over 1,000 cattle, and another farm close to his homestead in Nyamadlovu where he previously grew tobacco.

Mpofu declined an interview request.

Parceled out … The offer letter given to Mswelangubo Farm, one of Obert Mpofu's many companies

In 2017, Malunga, Dhlamini and Moyo acquired Kershelmar Farms (Pvt) Ltd from Barry Brice, David Power and Jeffrey Swindels. Kershelmar owns the coveted former dairy farm.

The government, which announced the seizure of the farm last December, says the trio should have obtained a "certificate of no present interest" in the farm from the lands minister, before buying it.

Malunga and his partners have challenged the government takeover in court, and won the first round of the showdown after obtaining an order barring Madzivanyathi from interfering with ongoing farming activities.

In the court filing, Malunga argues that he is being punished for criticising human rights abuses by the government and his work with OSISA, which funds the activities of some rights groups in Zimbabwe.

Source - zimlive
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