High Court or­ders Mo­hadi out of farm

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Court Re­porter

THE High Court has granted an in­terim or­der bar­ring Beit­bridge Sen­a­tor Tam­budzani Mo­hadi and Zanu-PF Mata­bele­land South pro­vin­cial chair­man Cde Ra­belani Choeni from in­ter­fer­ing with farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties at Dou­ble O Ranch in Gwanda dis­trict.

The rul­ing by Bu­l­awayo High Court judge Jus­tice Nokuthula Moyo fol­lows an ur­gent cham­ber ap­pli­ca­tion by the owner of the prop­erty, Mr Ge­orge Wat­son who sought a pro­vi­sional or­der in­ter­dict­ing Sen­a­tor Mo­hadi, Cde Choeni and two other vil­lagers from in­ter­fer­ing with ac­tiv­i­ties at his farm also known as the re­main­ing ex­tent of Makhado Ranch.

Mr Wat­son, who sur­vived ini­tial evic­tion at­tempts in 2003, has been locked in a pro­tracted bat­tle with lo­cal politi­cians who ac­cused him of fail­ing to co-ex­ist with the com­mu­nity.

The farm, which cov­ers 10 000 hectares, was pre­vi­ously di­vided into two sec­tions with Mr Wat­son and his mother, Mrs Pax­otius Wat­son re­main­ing with 2 000 ha while 8 000ha were al­lo­cated to Siyoka vil­lagers.

In pa­pers be­fore the court, Sen­a­tor Mo­hadi, Cde Choeni, Lands and Ru­ral Re­set­tle­ment Min­is­ter Dr Dou­glas Mombeshora, Mr Amon Ndou, a lo­cal coun­cil­lor, Zanu-PF Women’s League, Head­man He­bert Siyoka and the chair­per­son of the Gwanda dis­trict land com­mit­tee were cited as the re­spon­dents.

Jus­tice Moyo said although the pro­vi­sional or­der re­strained the re­spon­dents from vis­it­ing Makhado Farm, it how­ever, shall not op­er­ate against them when they act in terms of the law.

“The Min­is­ter of Lands and Ru­ral Re­set­tle­ment is hereby re­strained and in­ter­dicted from au­tho­ris­ing or per­mit­ting the re­spon­dents or their agents from vis­it­ing the farm save through com­pli­ance with due process as pro­vided for in terms of the Land Ac­qui­si­tion Act,” ruled the judge.

Mr Wat­son, in his found­ing af­fi­davit, ac­cused Sen­a­tor Mo­hadi of mo­bil­is­ing mem­bers of Zanu-PF Women’s League to oc­cupy his farm and claim­ing its own­er­ship.

The com­mer­cial farmer, who is be­ing rep­re­sented by Mr Nathan Mashayamombe of Mashayamombe and Com­pany At­tor­neys, said his fam­ily’s se­cu­rity has sub­stan­tially been com­pro­mised as re­sult of the re­spon­dents’ con­duct.

Mr Wat­son said the “in­va­sion” spelt doom for the fu­ture of 49 per­ma­nent work­ers and 60 oth­ers who em­ployed on sea­sonal ba­sis.

“I have con­sid­er­ably in­vested in the farm mech­a­ni­sa­tion and the farm­ing project has im­mense ben­e­fits to the lo­cal Siyoka com­mu­nity. I have over the years been able to trans­form the farm through in­di­vid­ual and for­eign in­vest­ments into a vi­able en­tity boast­ing of the only banana plan­ta­tion in Mata­bele­land re­gion,” he said

Sen­a­tor Mo­hadi, Cde Choeni, Mr Ndou and Head­man Siyoka ap­peared in court as self ac­tors while Ms Re­joice from the Civil Di­vi­sion in the At­tor­ney­Gen­eral’s Of­fice rep­re­sented the Govern­ment.

The re­spon­dents have at least 10 work­ing days to file pa­pers in the event that they want to op­pose the con­fir­ma­tion of the pro­vi­sional or­der.

In De­cem­ber 2014, Vice-Pres­i­dent Phelekezela Mphoko vis­ited the farm to ac­quaint him­self with banana farm­ing be­cause he wanted it repli­cated in Mata­bele­land North.

Dur­ing the visit, the Vice-Pres­i­dent told the lo­cal Zanu-PF lead­er­ship to co-ex­ist with the Wat­sons and urged the Gwanda land com­mit­tee to find a so­lu­tion to the dis­pute.

In Au­gust 2011, Mr Wat­son and his wife, Ms Elaine de Plooy, were fined for set­ting dogs on two herd boys they found look­ing for stray don­keys on the farm.

The Wat­sons are ac­cused of fenc­ing off a dam built by the Dis­trict Devel­op­ment Fund (DDF) and re­fus­ing neigh­bour­ing vil­lagers ac­cess.

Sen­a­tor Tam­budzani Mo­hadi

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