Farmer to be evicted against Mphoko order

via Farmer to be evicted against Mphoko order – NewZimbabwe  30 January 2015

A MATABELELAND SOUTH white commercial farmer is facing eviction from his successful banana farm after provincial leaders ignored a directive by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko not to evict him.

Matabeleland South provincial affairs minister Abedinico Ncube announced this week that the Gwanda District Lands Committee had agreed that George Watson (Jnr) be evicted from his 2000ha Double “O” farm in defiance of Mphoko’s directive that the warring parties find ways to co-exist.

Mphoko had visited the farm in December to learn about Watson (Jnr)’s banana plantation project as he is in the process of setting up similar banana plantations in Matabeleland North and South. Sources said Watson (Jnr) is already assisting Mphoko set up a banana plantation at his Bubi farm.

“I would urge Ncube to look into this issue. Can you (Ncube) look into this matter as an adult and make sure that people live harmoniously among each other,” the Vice President directed.

However Ncube announced this week that the provincial lands committee has resolved to evict Watson (Jnr) from the piece of land and hand it to the community.

Ncube and lands ministry officials have refused to shed light on the reasons for Watson (Jnr)’s eviction.

However sources within the lands ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity said the decision was politically motivated and would not be good for the country.

“He (Watson) has not been served with an eviction order and besides the ministry has a directive not to gazette any dairy or citrus farms for the benefit of the country. The decision is also in contravention of Mphoko’s directive that the warring parties find common ground and live together,” a source said.

Zanu PF politicians from Beitbridge have since 2004 been making frantic efforts to seize the ranch. Home affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, Metrine Mudau and former Mat South Zanu PF provincial chairman Llyod Siyoka have been at the forefront of the efforts.

Watson (Jnr) is accused of ill-treating nearby villagers by denying them water and grazing land after he fenced his piece of land. In 2011 the Watson’s were fined after their dogs attacked herd boys at their farm.

Late last year villagers started destroying Watson’s property and a 16km-long fence was cut-off exposing the banana plantation to livestock.

Double “O” ranch was originally 10 000ha in size before it was gazetted with the remaining stretch of 2 000ha being given to Mrs Vivian Watson, widow to the late George Watson (Snr) locally known as Magwamazi.

The arrangement was reportedly in line with President Robert Mugabe’s directive after he heard that Mrs Watson had developed a mental problem as result of the problem.

The late Watson’s son has since taken over.