via Mugabe aide wreaks havoc – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 6, 2014
SCORES of families are set to be evicted from Centenary Farm in Figtree today after it was seized by deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President Ray Ndhlukula at the weekend.
Farm owner David Connolly said Ndhlukula defied a High Court ruling and descended on the farm last Saturday under the watchful eye of a senior police officer.
He reportedly said he would not respect the court order because Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled that whites could not appear in court on land matters.
Connolly said Ndhlukula’s wife told his workers they had until today to vacate the farm.
The workers were given an option to stay and work for the “new owners”, but were warned that the Ndhlukulas would also bring some employees.
“This involves a work force of 14 men, nine women and their incumbent families numbering a total of approximately 75 dependants,” Connolly said.
“Among these workers were men and women who have worked on the farm since 1963 and have resided there the entire time that they were in my employ.”
Connolly would also be forced to abandon crops worth millions of dollars and his 94 head of cattle.
“Ndhlukula told the man in charge of the irrigation to turn off the irrigation pump,” he said.
“The pump was at the time irrigating half a hectare of tomatoes (this amounts to 65 tonnes), 19 000 cabbages and 500 000 onions.
“I spoke to him at the gate to my farmhouse and informed him that he was in contempt of court. He said to me: ‘Don’t raise that issue again’.
“He said that this ‘was now his property’ and that he would be doing things ‘his way’ and that his workers would come and remove my personal belongings and household effects on to his trucks and take them away.”
Ndhlukula was not reachable for comment yesterday.
However, Connolly said the police officer commanding Bulilima Mangwe district, a Chief Superintendent Samuriwo, first informed him about the invasion on Saturday.
Samuriwo reportedly turned up at Centenary Farm during the invasion and was shown the court order (number HC 1204/14) issued on June 27 against Ndhlukula, but said it was not his duty to enforce it.
According to the order, Ndhlukula was barred “from taking occupation of, or bringing cattle on to the piece of land, namely a farm known as Subdivision A of Centenary, measuring 1 304, 544 hectares situate in the Bulilima District”.
Connolly had approached the High Court after Ndhlukula’s wife had threatened to move into the farm with her workers in June 2014.
He said on Saturday, Ndhlukula had told him Chief Justice Chidyausiku had said that “white people could not come before the courts of Zimbabwe regarding land matters”.
The government has in recent weeks claimed that it has put a stop on farm invasions.