BY GARY GERALD MTOMBENI
ZANU PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu yesterday challenged the owners of Kershelmar Farms in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North province, to conduct a physical inspection of the farm as he refuted claims that he blocked them from accessing the property.
This is after lawyers representing human rights defender Siphosami Malunga and his business partners Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo wrote to Mpofu accusing him of deploying armed guards to deny them access to the farm, popularly known as Esidakeni.
Malunga, Moyo and Dhlamini have argued in court papers that they bought the farm from its white former owners in 2017.
Mpofu was allocated 145 hectares of Esidakeni Farm, measuring 553 hectares in the name of his company Mswelangubo.
In a letter to Mpofu’s lawyers, Ndove and Associates dated January 24, lawyers representing Malunga and his co-partners accused Mpofu of denying their clients access to the farm.
“Can you please ask your client to remove forthwith the armed guards from the gate and the cottage and to allow our clients to harvest their cabbages?” their lawyers Web, Low and Barry wrote on January 24.
In response, Mpofu’s lawyers yesterday denied that there were planted crops belonging to the trio at the portion of the farm allocated to him.
“Ours further deny that yours has any crops planted or to be harvested in the area occupied by ours. Indeed, ours challenges yours for a physical inspection of the farm to disprove yours’ assertions,” Mpofu’s lawyers responded.
“For the record, should it be proved that there are any crops belonging to yours in the land occupied by ours, then ours would gladly allow yours to access same pending the Supreme Court appeal.
“Our client also has crops on its land and would now allow yours exclusive occupation as the same purported losses yours fears may visit ours if operations on the farm are not managed correctly.”
Recent reports said Mpofu sent his security guards and workers to evict Malunga and his co-partners’ employees, and planted his crops. Malunga, Moyo and Dhlamini have challenged the acquisition of their farm and the matter is pending in court.