ZANU PF Secretary for Administration, Obert Mpofu, has reportedly started evicting farmworkers from the contested Esidakeni Farm in Nyamadlovu, Matabeleland North Province.
The farm is owned by human rights lawyer Siphosami Malunga and his business partners Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo.
Mpofu has reportedly hired armed personnel to keep both the workers and the owners of the farm out.
Malunga, Dhlamini and Moyo bought Esidakeni in 2017 from white farmers through Kershelmar Farms (Private) Limited.
The trio has, however, been struggling to retain ownership as the State compulsorily acquired the farm in 2020 via a Notice of Acquisition General Notice 3042 that appeared in a government gazette.
Zimbabwe’s laws empower the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement to compulsorily acquire land without paying compensation except for improvements.
Mpofu and his wife, through their company, Mswelangubo Farm, were offered 145 hectares of Esidakeni Farm. The farm measures 553 hectares in total.
In December last year, High Court judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa gave Mpofu a 24-hour ultimatum to vacate the farm. Mpofu immediately filed a notice to appeal the ruling.
Malunga and partners argue Mpofu’s occupation of Esidakeni Farm is illegal considering he owns multiple farms.
Speaking during an interview with CITE, Dhlamini revealed that Mpofu had started evicting their workers using the armed guards to keep them out. Said: Dhlamini:
The eviction started on Tuesday. When they moved into the farm, we did a court order and applied to the High Court for them to go.
They applied to the Supreme Court and must have listened to the High Court order but they remained put there.
The procedure is the judgment must be executed pending an appeal, which they must launch from outside the farm.
They hired armed people with guns who are manning the place and are stopping people from moving in.
Even us owners are not allowed to go inside. We understand the armed people are from one security company.
Dhlamini added that their crops which had planted were dying as they are not being tended to. He said:
We have three compounds where our workers stay and they went to one of them and evicted our people.
There is no recourse, as we did try to go to the police, asking them to go put law and order there at the farm but the police said without a court order they cannot do anything.