State security minister Kembo Mohadi and the acting Zanu PF Matabeleland South chairman Rapelang Choene have been singled out as key people behind the chaos at one of Beitbridge’s most prized game sanctuaries.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Zanu PF activists have been accused of plundering Denlynian Farm near the border with South Africa, which they first invaded in 2010. The settlers have ignored several court orders to vacate the farm owned by Ian Ferguson and are building homesteads in the property described as not fit for human habitation.
Cattle have also been brought to the farm at the expense of wildlife and the delicate ecosystem. Ferguson said Mohadi and Choene appeared to be pushing a personal vendetta against his family.
He said the two were also behind the recent attempts to seize Benfer Estates — a family citrus plantation developed from virgin land to be one of the top citrus producers in the country.
Choene was one of the respondents in the court orders dating as far back as 2010 against the farm invaders whom Ferguson said were increasing at an alarming rate.
“This evil and what would seem to be a personal agenda, unquestionably, is driven by the political heavyweight in the district (Mohadi) of which we have been warned and been more than aware of for some 20 years now,” the elderly farmer said.
Ferguson said he was on the verge of giving up after the invaders ignored court orders and police refused to intervene.
He even wrote to police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri seeking his intervention but was ignored.
The farmer believes Mohadi has used his political muscle to stop police from doing their job.
Mohadi was Home Affairs minister until a fortnight ago when he was moved to the State Security portfolio by President Robert Mugabe.
“What the actual motivation is behind this man’s agenda is, is a mystery to me, as I have seen him in person only twice in my life and never had any communications with him whatsoever,” Ferguson said.
“If it is because I have not obsequiously ingratiated myself with him as some people do, then so be it, as I was not brought up in that mould.
“I make no apologies for that as I would find it demeaning and would lose my dignity and self-respect and the respect of my family and friends and associates,” he added.
Ferguson chronicled one of his encounters with Mohadi where the minister allegedly made it clear that he was out to get him.
“I first became really aware of the incredible hatred this man had for me and my family when I was summonsed to appear in front of the Presidential Lands Committee at the Beitbridge Rural Council auditorium,” the farmer said.
“This was in the early 2000s and it was obviously to do with me opposing the forced takeover of the wildlife farm and my refusal to attend the district lands committee meetings, which I felt were no more than ‘kangaroo courts’ and whose members were some of the most highly politicised and unsavoury characters in the district,” he stated.
“I was accompanied by the Matabeleland officer for the Commercial Farmers Union and two fellow farmers and the meeting was minuted of which I have a copy.
“The committee was chaired by deputy (police) commissioner (Godwin) Matanga and other members were Vice Air Marshall (Henry) Muchena and other senior army officers whose names I didn’t get and the auditorium was packed out with locals to see this white man being sorted out,” he alleged.
“I was accused by Matanga of all sorts of things and was threatened with the then Law and Order Maintenance Act if I didn’t change my ways etc.
“So he had been fed with fabricated lies about me obviously by the man, Mohadi, to try and intimidate me.
“After Matanga’s diatribe he gave me an opportunity to explain myself before letting Mohadi take the floor.”
Fergurson said the minister made it known that he had a grudge against the Ferguson family in his address.
“Mohadi started off by making disparaging remarks about my late father who worked in the district and then rambled on about how we whites had taken the land and then said that as he put it ‘the game on the game farm is not yours because you didn’t bring it from England’,” he added.
“I just shrugged off the content of his rantings and put it down to an ill-informed, very disturbed and ignorant but very vindictive and dangerous person.”
Mohadi on Tuesday refused to comment about Ferguson’s allegations.
“I have nothing to say about that guy. Leave me alone,” he said.
Choene, who is accused of mobilising the surrounding community to invade the game reserve, was not available for comment.