Former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, who is the ZANU PF secretary for administration, was allocated part of the hotly disputed Kerlshmar Farm in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North Province.
Mpofu, who reportedly owns two farms, was allocated 145 hectares of Kerlshmar Farm which measures 553 hectares and is co-owned by Siphosami Malunga, the son of former ZAPU stalwart Sydney Malunga.
As ZANU PF secretary for administration, Mpofu is the fifth most senior figure in the party. According to ZimLive, Mpofu 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.
Malunga who is Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) director, co-owns Kershelmar Farms (Private) popularly known as Esidakeni with businessman Charles Moyo and Zephania Dhlamini, a scientist working at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
In 2017, Malunga, Dhlamini and Moyo acquired Kershelmar Farms (Pvt) Ltd from Barry Brice, David Power and Jeffrey Swindells. Kershelmar owns the coveted former dairy farm.
However, in a state gazette, Lands minister Anxious Masuka said the farm was compulsory acquired under section 72(2) of the country’s constitution.
According to an offer letter dated 30 June 2021 seen by CITE, Masuka parcelled out 145 hectares of the farm to Mpofu’s company Mswelangubo Farm. Wrote Masuka:
I am pleased to offer to Mswelangubo Farm the following farm, which was compulsorily acquired in Umguza district Matabeleland North province for use by the Mswelangubo Farm.
Please note that the land in question is for institutional use by Mswelangubo Farm and shall remain state land on which terms and conditions for state land apply.
Contacted for comment by CITE, Mpofu said he was not at liberty to comment as the matter is sub judice. He said:
Do you want me to talk about something that is in court? This is the same case that is in the court so I cannot do that, as the matter is being handled in the courts.
Let’s wait until the case is solved at the court then we can talk about what is happening.
Part of the land was also parcelled out to Dumisani Madzivanyati a Bulawayo businessman and NUST lecturer.
This week Madzivanyati was ordered by the High Court to stop interfering with the farm operations at Esidakeni.
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) co-deputy director-general Gatsha Mzithulela and CIO operative Reason Mpofu have been identified as the other people behind the farm seizure.