“Tell him to report matter to the police” – Obert Mpofu on stealing farm produce
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu has directed one of the owners of the Esidakeni Farm in Matabeleland North, Siphosami Malunga, who is accusing him of stealing farm produce at the disputed property, to “report the matter to the police”.
Malunga, a top human rights activist, on Tuesday accused Mpofu of storming the farm before plundering a haul of tonnes of onions, butternuts and cabbages which were almost ready for the market.
“When Dr Obert Mpofu invaded our farm, Esidakeni and chased us out and installed armed guards, we had just started to harvest our 800 tonnes of onions, 200 tonnes of butternuts with 7 5000 cabbages almost ready to harvest. He took it all. Everything!,” Malunga said.
Contacted by Nehanda Radio for a comment, Mpofu could neither confirm nor deny, but simply said “tell him to report the matter to the police”.
Malunga, the director of Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and his business partners Zephaniah Dhlamini and Charles Moyo were recently charged with illegal occupation of state land despite a Supreme Court consent that the Esidakeni Farm belongs to them.
Mpofu is accused of using his proximity to government authorities to refuse to vacate the property despite two Supreme and High Court orders confirming that the land belonged to Malunga and his colleagues.
Nehanda Radio understands that Mpofu and his wife Sikhanyisiwe grabbed 145 hectares of the contested 550 hectares and occupied positioning guards at the gate.
Government through the Minister of Agriculture 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.