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Supreme Court orders Obert Mpofu off Esidakeni Farm

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By Lisa Nyanhongo

ZANU PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu’s has lost the legal battle over ownership of Kershelmar Farm Umguza in Matebeleland North province which he had invaded.

The farm is owned by owners Siphosami Malunga together with scientist and university lecturer Zephania Dhlamini and businessman Charles Moyo.

The new owners have renamed it Esidakeni.

Malunga had set aside the land for landless villagers in Umguza.

However, Mpofu and his wife Sikhanyisiwe, grabbed 145 hectares of the contested 550 hectares of the farm and occupied positioning guards at the gate.

The High Court recently ordered Mpofu hands off the farm prompting him to approach the supreme court for reprieve.

He still lost the battle.

Supreme Court Judges , the Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, Hlekani Mwayera, Alphas Chitakunye Monday said Mpofu unlawfully occupied the farm as such should vacate.

“The coming in of the appellants (Mpofu and wife) was not sanctioned by law since there was no court order for eviction,” the judges said in a judgement written by Mwayera with Gwaunza and Chitakunye concurring.”

“In spoliation matters, it is apparent that the deciding factor is that deprivation should be effected lawfully, our law deprecates self-help.

The judges said anarchy and chaos brought about by self-help is not acceptable.

“The individual with an offer letter has the locus standi in judicio to seek the eviction of a former owner after acquisition of land by the state.

“The fact that the appellants had an offer letter does not entitle them to self-help in taking over possession without due process of the law.

The Supreme Court ruled that the dispossession of the farm owners by Mpofu “was unlawful and it was done without the respondents’ consent.”

“The High Court properly frowned at self-help which is repugnant to our constitutional values. It thus properly restored possession to the respondents by granting the spoliation relief.

“The appeal is without merit and must fail… Accordingly, the appeal is hereby dismissed with costs.”

The three farmers had challenged the government’s compulsory listing of the farm for resettlement at the High Court.

They argued that the constitution protects black farmers from land dispossession hence the High Court is yet to rule on their challenge to the compulsory acquisition on the resettlement of the farm.