Top Mugabe aide defies court, occupies Figtree farm

Bulawayo High Court

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
04 August 2014

Deputy presidential secretary, Dr Ray Ndhlukula, has taken over Centenary Farm in Figtree, Matebeleland South despite a High Court order barring him from doing so.

Ndhlukula has been trying to grab the farm from David Conolly for some time. Following repeated threats of forcible occupation, the farmer sought protection from the courts, which was granted on June 27th at the Bulawayo High Court.

However on Friday Ndhlukula proceeded to occupy Conolly’s farm, telling him that as a white person the law does not protect him when it comes to land matters.

Ndhlukula bragged about his position as deputy chief secretary in the President’s Office and rejected the court order when the police tried presenting it to him.

“Dr Ndhlukula refused to accept the order and said that ‘white people could not come before the courts regarding land matters.

“He further informed me that he was not going to abide by the ruling of the Court and that he would show me how he was going to do things “his way”.

“He said that he would take all my cattle, vegetables, equipment, and household contents. His wife then entered the conversation saying that their people would sleep in my house that night,” Conolly said in a statement.

This will be Ndhlukula’s second farm, as he reportedly already owns another one in the same province which he registered in his son’s name.

Dispossessed Chegutu farmer and rights campaigner Ben Freeth said it is sad the police stood by and failed to arrest the Conolly farm invaders, despite having the order declaring the occupation illegal.

“It is fantastic that the High Court in Bulawayo issued the order but what is unfortunate in this case is that the police still refused to enforce the order and ensure that any invaders are arrested for contempt of court,” Freeth said.

He added that Conolly’s farm invasion has yet again demonstrated the absence of law and order in Zimbabwe.

On Wednesday Freeth and others hope to hold a prayer meeting at the Conolly Farm “to pray for law and order in the country.”

However ex-Minister for Reconciliation Moses Mzila-Ndlovu told SW Radio Africa that it was unlikely that state security agents will allow the prayer meeting to go ahead.

Mzila said ZANU PF was targeting the remaining white-owned farms in a classic case of divide-and-rule, because they know white farmers are in the minority.

“The strategy seems to be working but let me say to those black Zimbabweans who think this is a black and white issue that it’s only a matter of time before ZANU PF turns on those of us who think differently.

“We should look at these developments with concern and ask ourselves how we can collectively stop this ZANU PF madness, regardless of tribe or race,” Mzila added.

The former minister called on ordinary Zimbabweans to recognise that contrary to what Mugabe wants them to believe, they do have the power to demand better governance.

Mzila said in most cases farm workers have stood by helplessly as ZANU PF officials invaded farms and threw them off the land, depriving them of their homes and source of livelihood.

“I believe they should protest. And we should not tire of petitioning the international community to hold this regime to account according to international law, and on our part as Zimbabweans we need to demand that they abide by the country’s constitution. But this will not happen if we do not do something,” Mzila, who is also a senior MDC official said.



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