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Malunga and partners charged for invading ‘state land’ which they own

Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) director Siphosami Malunga and his business partners Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo have been charged with illegal occupation of state land despite a Supreme Court consent that the farm belongs to them.

Regardless of the fact that the three bought Esidakeni Farm in Umguza, Matebeleland North province which the government seemingly wants to give to Zanu PF official Obert Mpofu, they were arrested and dragged to court.

Last month, Mpofu lost the legal battle over ownership of the farm which he and his wife Sikhanyisiwe had grabbed.

After losing the High Court case, Mpofu approached the Supreme Court where Judges, the Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, Hlekani Mwayera, Alphas Chitakunye ruled clearly that the Zanu-PF top official had unlawfully occupied the farm and ordered him to vacate.

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

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“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.”

But Mpofu reportedly reoccupied the farm while they were at the Tsholotsho Magistrates Court on Monday.

Malunga, who is the son of the late national hero Sidney Malunga, confirmed the development.

“We are informed that as we are being prosecuted today in Tsholotsho. Obert Mpofu has returned to Esidakeni farm and also re-installed his armed guards. All in defiance of High and Supreme Court orders. No prizes for guessing who’s behind all this,” he said.

The three were granted ZWL10 000 bail with trial set for the 6th of September.

The State was opposing bail.

Before being evicted from the farm, Mpofu and his wife Sikhanyisiwe had grabbed 145 hectares of the contested 550 hectares and occupied positioning guards at the gate.

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement Anxious Masuku acquired the farm through a Notice of Acquisition General Notice 3042 of 2020 in the Government Gazette on December 18, 2020 and handed it over to his company Mswelangubo Farm, which he owns with his wife, who was allocated 154 hectares.