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Figtree farmer David Connolly vows to defy Mugabe's aide

by Staff reporter
21 Sep 2014 at 11:07hrs | Views
Figtree farmer David Connolly, who is being kicked out of his farm by President Robert Mugabe's close aide, Ray Ndhlukula has vowed to stay put.

Connolly accuses Ndhlukula of wrongfully dragging the name of the Head of State in the messy fight over the farm.

Connolly told The Standard yesterday that Ndhlukula was employing dirty tactics in order to kick him out of his farm by invoking Mugabe's name in the land-grabbing saga.

"He said he got the farm from President Mugabe and I think it's a way of trying to intimidate me. But I will not be intimidated by such empty threats. How can the President do that? It cannot be true. He cannot give such instructions, never. He thinks if he says that to me then I will leave my farm and go away, no," the farmer said.

Connolly said the farm ownership wrangle had since put his other family members in trouble.

"My brother Michael was visited by the Plumtree District Administrator and a person in charge of the lands in the district, one Dodzi on Friday and they warned him they wanted to chuck him out of his farm because I had filed papers in court against the government," he said.

"They think if they put pressure on my brother I will go and sit down with them and withdraw the matter from the courts, but I will not do that. I am at the farm legally and if there was any court order evicting me from it, I would not have resisted."

The farmer said he applied for contempt of court charges against Ndhlukula on August 13 this year after the latter continued to interfere with his farming activities despite a court order for him to stop interfering.

"On the 13th of August we applied for the contempt of court matter to be dealt with at the High Court and we are still waiting for the matter to be set down for hearing. All the papers have been filed and Ndhlukula also filed his," Connolly said.

"Right now I am contemplating all the losses I have made and I am going to file a civil suit against Ndhlukula to claim everything that I have lost as a result of his actions."

According to Connolly, Ndhlukula chased him out of his farm and took over crops worth many thousands of dollars.

Ndhlukula has been trying to move onto Centenary Farm since June this year despite a High Court order barring him from interfering with operations at the property, one of the most productive farms in Matabeleland South.

His workers started camping at Connolly's farm in August after the eviction of Connolly's farm workers from their dwellings.

On Wednesday Connolly's workers were stopped from growing their crops by Ndhlukula's workers before the farm was barricaded.

Ben Freeth, spokesperson of the Sadc Tribunal Rights Watch said in a statement. "Connolly was chased out of his home. Barricades were put up to stop him coming back and irrigating or reaping the 300 000 onion plants he still has in the ground, or planting the 50 000 cabbage seedlings he has ready to plant this week."

"There was no choice, but for him and his workers to go to the police station again.

"The offer letter [which Ndhlukula claims to have] is yet to be produced, but the Connollys and their workers left the police station, deeply distressed, as so many thousands of farmers, farm workers and their families have before them, without being offered protection."

Ndhlukula could not be reached for comment yesterday.


Source - thestandard

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