By A Correspondent- Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka and Matabeleland North Minister of State Richard Moyo have been dragged to the High Court over a farm seizure by senior members of the President’s Office.
The matter spilled into the Bulawayo High Court this week as owners of Kershelmar Farm in Nyamandlovu — 40 kilometres north of Bulawayo — seek to stop the land grab, which is putting Zimbabwe under the spotlight over the respect of property rights.
The chaotic land reform of 2000 tarnished Zimbabwe’s image, resulting in the isolation of Harare from the international community as Zanu PF used brute force to take over white-owned farms.
Even 20 years after the initial land redistribution exercise, farm invasions are still taking place, including some covered under international bilateral agreements.
In the latest case involving senior officials from the President’s Office, Kershelmar Farm has been partitioned despite belonging to a privately-owned entity run by indigenous Zimbabweans, including Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa) director Siphosami Malunga, son to the late outspoken national hero Sydney Malunga.
Malunga and his business partners seek, through the High Court, to protect their property rights against the state power used by Mazithulela and his juniors to parcel out privately-owned land in Matabeleland North province.
A strongly-worded affidavit filed at the High Court by Kershelmar shareholders accused Mazithulela of retributive action and hostility against farm owners who he allegedly labelled as “anti-government” agents.
The affidavit, seen by the Zimbabwe Independent this week, underscores that the fate of former cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere, whose farms were seized by the government in the aftermath of the 2017 coup which toppled former president Robert Mugabe, would also befall Kershelmar shareholders.
Moyo and Kasukuwere — who are living in exile — had their farms downsized by the government, following the political fallout which collapsed the 37-year Mugabe iron-fist rule.