via Farms workers take Mugabe aide head-on – Southern Eye 14 September 2015 by Silas Nkala
MORE than 75 workers displaced from David Connolly’s Centenary Farm in Figtree by President Robert Mugabe’s aide Ray Ndhlukula have filed a High Court application to have their matter heard on an urgent basis.
Ndhlukula, who is Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, forcibly took over the farm last year and ordered Connolly and his workers to vacate. The High Court, however, ruled in favour of Connolly and ordered Ndhlukula out of the farm.
His appeal was recently struck down by Supreme Court, which argued that his papers were not in order.
This then inspired the workers, through their representative, Daniel Sibanda, to file a fresh bid to have the matter heard urgently, claiming their eviction had rendered them destitute.
In papers filed on September 9, the workers, through their lawyers from Web Low and Barry, insisted that their eviction was illegal. They cited Ndhlukula and the Lands and Rural Resettlement ministry as first and second respondents, respectively.
“This eviction was done in spite of an order of the honourable court prohibiting it and in spite of the fact that there was litigation pending before the court in which this court could determine the legality of the first respondent’s claims to ownership or occupation and usage of the farm,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda said there was no order issued by the court granting Ndhlukula the right to evict them and occupy the farm.
“It is my humble belief that the eviction was illegal and therefore the first respondent is liable to pay whatever damages I and other affected persons suffered as a result of the eviction,” Sibanda submitted.
He said his application was seeking a leave to bring a class action on behalf of others who were affected by the eviction, for damages and violation of their human rights. But Ndhlukula immediately filed opposition papers saying Sibanda’s application was defective. Ndhlukula insists Connolly was occupying the land illegally as it was gazetted for acquisition in 2003.