BY SILAS NKALA
TWO Bulawayo High Court judges Justices Nokuthula Moyo and Christopher Dube Banda have recused themselves in a case where Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu has been dragged to court over a farm dispute in Umguza, Matabeleland North Province.
Mpofu’s business entity, Mswelangubo Farm, was offered 145 hectares of the disputed Kershelmar Farm, also known as Esidakeni, that is co-owned by Siphosami Malunga, Charles Moyo and Zephania Dhlamini.
The trio wants Mpofu removed from the farm as they challenge the acquisition of the land by the government.
Reports indicate that Mpofu’s son has started farming activities despite the ownership dispute between Kershelmar shareholders and Bulawayo businessman Dumisani Madzivanyati, who was also allocated 50 hectares on the property by the government.
Kershelmar Farms’ lawyer Josphat Tshuma yesterday said he filed an application for a spoilation order at the Bulawayo High Court on Tuesday citing Mswelangubo Farm (Pvt) Ltd, Mpofu and his wife as respondents.
“We were then served with notices to appear in court today (yesterday).
“Unfortunately, the duty judge Moyo has from the start recused herself to deal with the same farm issue on condition that she was known to one of the litigants, so she could not hear this one,” Tshuma said.
“The other judge Justice Maxwell Takuva is on leave, Justice Evangelista Kabasa, who has dealt with a case involving the same farm is away.
“Justice Dube Banda also recused himself saying he is known to one of the litigants.”
Tshuma said Bulawayo senior judge Justice Martin Makonese, who is not on duty had to return to work yesterday to address both parties on the way forward.
“Justice Makonese advised parties that he will speak to the Judge President so that another judge either from Harare or Masvingo is allocated to deal with the case on an urgent basis.
“In the application, the applicants are saying they are filing the application to impune the decision by the Lands minister to gazette the farm.
“They are saying the act of invasion of the farm must be declared null and void, and anything done through the offer letters must be set aside pending the matter before the court.
“The issue of who owns it is neither here nor there and the courts are the ones to determine as the matter is still pending in court.”
In court papers, Malunga and his partners also revealed that Central Intelligence Organisation co-deputy director-general Gatsha Mazithulela and Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo had interests in the farm.