via Govt officials defy Mat South chiefs – Southern Eye 27 January 2015 by Benson Dube
GOVERNMENT officials on Wednesday defied a call from Matabeleland South chiefs to attend a meeting to explain the Maleme Ranch takeover by an official in the office of the president.
Senator Chief Nyangazonke, Chief Mathema and Chief Malaki Masuku had called the district administrator (DA) and other government officials to attend a meeting on Wednesday, but the bureaucrats were in a no-show.
The chiefs are opposed to the compulsory acquisition of Maleme Ranch, whose owner, David Cunningham was given up to February 1 to vacate the farm.
Villagers, who attended the chiefs meetings last Saturday and on Wednesday, have vowed to block the farm’s acquisition.
The chiefs and hundreds of villagers were quite peeved by the government officials’ no-show.
“I told the DA about the meeting and that he must come and explain how the land acquisition was done and he said he was engaged in other meetings, but would send Lands officials,” Chief Nyangazonke said.
“To me this is a sign of disrespect. We are going the other way and we are going to do our things traditionally.
“We will take another direction so that our plight might be heard.”
Chief Mathema said they were not fighting the government, but were against the acquisition of Cunningham’s farm, as he was an integral part of the community.
Dindila Dube, a local and businessman, alleged that the local legislator Saul Ncube was behind the farm takeover.
“The MP is going around telling people that they are going around taking more farms,” he alleged.
“As villagers, we must tell him that we voted him to come and make development.”
Maleme Ranch was reportedly allocated to Rodney Mashingaidze, who works in the office of the president.
Bishops and villagers, including present and former students at Ebenezer College, spoke angrily at the acquisition of the ranch and vowed to defend it.