BULAWAYO – Figtree farmer David Connolly, who lost his farm to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s top aide — Ray Ndhlukula — has cried foul after the latter this week moved to destroy his farm house, at a time he felt that he had not exhausted all the legal channels to get back what belongs to him.
Ndhlukula, who is the deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, might have felt vindicated to erect new structures by the recent victory in the legal battle over ownership of the Figtree Farm, being Subdivision “A” of Centenary situated in the Bulilima District of Matabeleland South Province, following a Supreme Court ruling.
The apex court said the farm in dispute was State land and had been gazetted under the land reform programme by government.
The farm was gazetted for acquisition by the State on January 31, 2003 under General Notice 37 of 2003 and was subsequently acquired by the State in 2005 by virtue of the Constitutional Amendment No 17 of 2005.
Connolly, who last week said he was being persecuted because of his skin following the ruling, yesterday told this publication that Ndhlukula has started destroying his farm house.
“Those people have started destroying my farm house, my wife is from there right now. She is telling me that they have removed the roof and are also destroying the structure. How can they do that, honestly?” Connolly, who still hopes that one day he will return to the farm he has called home for close to half a century, said.
He, however, could not be drawn into revealing his next move in the wake of the latest developments.
The commercial farmer, who could not hide his bitterness at the way government has treated him in all the court battles, said these were clear signs of a lawless government that claims to respect the rights of its people.
Last week Connolly said; “We have a Constitutional Court; I think we have to challenge the Constitution there. We just have to see what is good for us but we should be able to do that before the elections such that the international community is aware that President Mnangagwa is all about rhetoric.”
In January this year, Connolly told Southern News that he had taken the matter to Southern African Development Community (Sadc) for redress.
“It’s quite shocking how the government has treated me on this matter. I know it’s because I have a white skin hence I am being denied my rights which I deserve like any other Zimbabwean citizen,” he said.
The white commercial farmer did not hide his bitterness against Mnangagwa whom he felt should have saved his farm from Ndhlukula’s occupation.
“Mnangagwa is saying Zimbabwe is open for business, yet on the other hand, is doing the opposite. He can’t do that when he is expecting to win in the next election. He is chasing away white farmers at a time he has promised to address their plight,” Connolly said.