Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Malunga business partners arrested as Esidakeni land row escalates

by Staff reporter
15 Aug 2022 at 16:51hrs | Views
Police have arrested two co-directors of a Matabeleland North farm which is at the centre of a fierce tug-of-war between the current owners on one hand and powerful Zanu-PF politician Obert Mpofu and a handful politically connected claimants on the other.

Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo, co-directors of Kershelmer Farms (Private) Limited, were arrested one after the other weekend and are detained at Nyamandlovu Police Station.

Police accuse prominent rights advocate Siphosami Malunga and his colleagues of occupying state land without authority.

This is against a High Court and Supreme Court ruling, in the last few months, ordering the ejectment of the Zanu-PF secretary for administration and Dumisani Madzivayathi, a university lecturer, after they bulldozed their way into the farm while also waving "offer letters" from the government.

Malunga, who is being sought by the police over the same allegations brought against his colleagues, said on Sunday he was preparing to hand himself to the police.

In an angry post via his Twitter handle on Sunday, the Senegal based son to late liberation war hero Sydney Malunga, slammed the police for what he described as blatant abuse of power.

"Last night my co-directors at Esidakeni Farm were arrested. This is blatant abuse of power, state resources, institutions & officials.

"Aim is to undermine judicial decisions by the High & Supreme Courts; politically persecute us & violate our fundamental rights. We are not afraid!

"There was no need to arrest them after our lawyers had arranged with the Nyamandlovu Police Officer in Charge Matangi to present ALL of us at the same time.

"Why arrest them on Sunday night when they knew we were going there. I too will present myself. We have done nothing wrong!" he said.

Malunga and his colleagues purchased Esidakeni Estate, a former dairy farm, in 2017 after buying shares in Kershelmer Farms.

The government however went on to list the 554-hectare property in Nyamandlovu for compulsory acquisition in 2020.

The three challenged the gazetting of the property through the courts and the matter is still pending.

Meanwhile, police have acted on a complaint filed by Lovemore Jiyane and Legina Muchimba, who said they are some of the beneficiaries offered land on the farm by the lands ministry.

Mpofu, who has other farms, says he was offered 145 hectares of Esidakeni together with his wife, Sikhanyisiwe.

It is believed the total beneficiaries could be just over a dozen politically-connected individuals, some of them Central Intelligence Organisation operatives.

Kershelmer lawyer Josphat Tshuma contends the gazetting of the property was not done in terms of the law and was against the spirit of government's land reform programme which seeks to take land from white owners and redistribute it to landless blacks.

Malunga believes the government targeted the farm as punishment for his human rights advocacy work in his former role as executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).

Dhlamini is a scientist at the National University of Science and Technology while Moyo is a miner.

Source - zimlive