Esidakeni farm drama rages; co-directors arrested in ongoing dispute with Zanu PF’s Obert Mpofu

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

POLICE in Matebeleland North have arrested the co-directors of Esidakeni farm on spurious charges of “occupying state land without authority” despite the same being declared bonafide occupants by the courts.

The farm is co-owned by prominent rights advocate Siphosami Malunga and two other co-directors, Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo.

The property has been at the centre of a protracted dispute pitting the owners and Zanu PF administration secretary Obert Mpofu and another Zanu PF activist Dumisani Madzivayathi.

Recently, the Bulawayo High Court ruled in favour of Malunga and his colleagues before ordering Mpofu and company off the property.

The High Court ruling also follows a similar judgement by the Supreme Court.

Malunga, who is also wanted in connection with the case, confirmed his co-directors arrest on Facebook.

“Last night my co-directors at Esidakeni Farm were arrested. This is blatant abuse of power, state resources, institutions and officials. Aim is to undermine judicial decisions by the High and Supreme Courts, politically persecute us and violate our fundamental rights,” said Malunga.

Prominent rights advocate Siphosami Malunga

“There was no need to arrest them after our lawyers had arranged with the Nyamandlovu Police Officer- in -Charge Matangi to present all of us at the same time. Why arrest on Sunday night when they knew we were going there,” wrote Malunga.

Malunga, who is son of late national hero Sydney Malunga pledged to avail himself to the police.

“We are not afraid! We have done nothing wrong!” he declared.

Commenting on the same platform, prominent lawyer and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Treasurer -General, David Coltart said the trio was facing persecution for successfully challenging Mpofu’s unlawful occupation of the property.

“In true Zanu PF fashion once again they have used the police to thwart the fundamental rights of citizens by arresting people on spurious charges on a Sunday. In this case, the directors of Esidakeni farm, which include my good friend Siphosami Malunga are being targeted after they secured a Supreme Court ruling evicting Obert Mpofu from their farm,” said Coltart.

The former Education minister also criticised the land reform programme saying the scheme was benefitting a few people connected to the ruling party Zanu PF.

“Anyone who thinks that land reform in Zimbabwe is primarily about correcting historical injustices need look no further than this case. Some former white Rhodesian ex-military men, many of them still fundamentally racist, are still owners  of vast tracks of land in Zimbabwe. The reason? They support Zanu PF in cash and kind,” said Coltart.