THE surprise eviction of popular Ntabazinduna farmers, Brain and Carol Davies, who operate Tabas Induna Farm, has attracted the wrath of local chief, Nhlanhla Ndiweni.
The couple was served with an eviction notice by one Floyd Ambrose on Tuesday last week, according to Tabas Induna spokesperson Buz Davies. “We lodged an appeal late Friday afternoon so we hope it (the eviction) does not happen,” said Buz, who however, could not be drawn into revealing more details on the matter.
Efforts to get a comment from Ambrose on his plans to move into Tabas Induna Farm which was purchased in 1953 by Carol’s grandfather, Jack Parsons, were unsuccessful. Tabas Induna was at one time the largest pig producer in the country with over 12 000 pigs. It was also home to a large cattle herd, a commercial crocodile farm and a well-established and very successful photographic safari operation.
With the permission of the late Paramount Chief Khayisa Ndiweni, the Davies/Parsons family built Chiefs Lodge in 1992 on the top of Ntabazinduna Hill, a famous historical site that is revered by the Ndebeles.
Despite the historical and cultural significance, Chief Ndiweni trusted the Tabas Induna Farm owners so much that he made the Davies/Parsons family custodians of Ntabazinduna Hill.
Yesterday, Chief Ndiweni told this publication that he was going to do everything in his power to block the eviction.
“The attempted eviction of the Parsons/Davies family from Ntabazinduna Mountain has touched our sense of justice in a most profound manner and every part of our being is screaming out that this is unjust. “When something is unjust, no amount of politics, propaganda, public relations or silence will make it just. This assault upon the Parsons/ Davis family is unjust irrespective of what anyone may say.
“Should it be effected, then the current administration will pay a very heavy price indeed, from within the country, in the region and from the international world. Traditional leaders will be at the forefront of this campaign,” Ndiweni fumed.
Prominent human rights lawyer and former Cabinet minister David Coltart has described the eviction as senseless. “This is just ludicrous – the so-called new dispensation says that land invasions have stopped and yet this family are being forced off their home and business.
“This is a tourist facility, located near Bulawayo’s airport, not a farm – it is only 15 hectares and was a lodge until it was trashed by the same person trying to take it over again. Buz and Carol Davies have been renovating the lodge over the last few years with a view to opening it again, but now out of sheer greed a Zanu-PF-connected person wants it,” said Coltart.
The prominent lawyer added that the eviction was another proof that Zimbabwe is not open for business as claimed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. “Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube is presently in Washington trying to persuade the IMF and World Bank that the regime he represents has turned over a new leaf and deserves support.
How can a government claim to be open for business when it is allowing businesses like this, which have the potential to earn foreign currency and boost our tourism industry, to be stolen in broad daylight?” asked Coltart. Tabas Induna Farm was identified and listed for resettlement by the government in 2000.
The Davies family spent many years trying to get it delisted but despite these efforts it was subdivided into many plots.
According to the family, the ministry of Lands assured them verbally that they could remain in their homestead, but due to hindrances to farming operations by the new settlers, production on a commercial scale was no longer possible or viable.
In a similar case, in 2015 people from Matabeleland united and resisted government efforts to evict another popular white farmer Peter Cunningham from his Maleme Farm in Matobo District.
Demonstrations were staged at the farm against Gwanda Central Intelligence Organisation operative Rodney Mashingaidze who had intended to take over the farm.