APPROXIMATELY 40 villagers were yesterday detained by police officers as pressure mounted on a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss to give up Maleme Ranch in Matabeleland South.


Villagers are resisting the allocation of the farm to CIO boss Rodney Mashingaidze and have vowed to fight to the bitter end to avoid the farm being taken over.

In probably the first of its kind, villagers volunteered to be arrested by the police, who had gone to the farm to protect it from possible vandalism.

However, villagers said they had gone to the farm to protect it against vandalism by Mashingaidze and his employees and to feed livestock on the farm.

Chief Masuku yesterday revealed that one of his aides, Killian Masuku, had been arrested after he had gone to feed ostriches on the farm.

Villagers said they were running various agricultural projects at the ranch like poultry farming, but Mashingaidze had locked them out, amid reports his employees were on a looting spree.

Sources yesterday revealed that no less than 40 villagers had been arrested, as tensions rose over the farm’s acquisition.

Pastor Anglistone Sibanda confirmed the arrests, and indicated that his Shalom Trust church-based organisation and lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) were battling to secure their release.

“Their property was being looted and their only crime is that they went to the farm to try and guard it from being stolen or destroyed by thieves,” he said.

“We are told that they had apprehended one of Mashingaidze’s employees who had looted property and as they heading to the police station they met police officers, who instead of arresting the suspected thief, arrested them.”

Sibanda, in the company of ZLHR lawyer, Tatenda Muganyi yesterday visited the police station in an effort to have the prisoners released.

It was not clear whether they had managed to do so by late last night.

Sibanda said the police had taken into custody 15 people, while about 20 old women were grouped at Nathisa, saying they were waiting for transport to take them to Kezi, where they would be caged.

Five youths were part of the group.

“The women said since their husbands and children had been arrested, they too wanted to be arrested,” Sibanda said.

The arrests came a day after Matobo villagers vowed to die fighting Mashingaidze from grabbing the ranch.

Opposition MDC said it condemned what it described as the senseless acquisition of the farm.

“We understand it to be government policy that the foundation of land reform is the empowerment of indigenous local communities,” the party said.

“It thus makes no sense that land which is fully being utilised by local indigenous communities is acquired by the State and then allocated to an individual, who is not even a local, but hails from another far off corner of the country, against the interests and wishes of the entirety of locals, including their traditional leaders, all of whom are already benefiting from the land.

“The deliberate bulldozing of Mashingaidze to take over the farm by the Zanu PF government shows a shocking disregard for the welfare, collective interests and needs of the local people and is, therefore, wholly unacceptable.

“In this regard, the MDC stands solidly behind the people of Maleme in their fight for justice.”

Matabeleland South police spokesman, Assistant Inspector Nkosilathi Sibanda referred all questions to Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi, who could not be reached for comment.

Vice-President Phekezela Mpoko had been scheduled to address the Matobo villagers over the dispute on Sunday, but did not show up.


  1. These people are now fighting God. hah no wonder why they have been advocating for taxing of tithes in churches!

  2. Soldier on maleme villagers, It shall be a long struggle but surely you shall win. He may win today, but there is always tomorrow when his boss is gone then fight should resumes. Kusinwa kudedelwana Mthwakazi.

  3. This is gross abuse of villagers. How can someone from the east be given land in the west….. and that land is already benefiting locally. Making sense?

  4. we might not win this one brethren if we dont pray. this one is not about mashingaidze but the demon which controls zanu. we are dealing with a cio who at present is looking for a judas iscariot who they can pay all the money to sell out. soon the fake weaknesses of the cunninghums will be out in the chronicle and mphoko will then come to address the people and most of them will buy that propaganda. mark my words. we need to pray. they have done this to many people and now enjoying to touch the anointed which the bible says should not happen.

  5. Master have mercy, let the church and the farmers win the case in Jesus. its so cruel .Who ever gather against the children of God without God let then scatter and fall to the bottomless pit in Jesus Name.

  6. I command those people to be released in Jesus’s Name. Whoever continue to fight them, he will be fighting God and Let God’s wrath consume them all.I have been supporting this Part but this is too bad and can not be condoned at all.

  7. The free press of which the Southern Eye is a leader, should not shy away from their responsibility of exposing the evils of this selfish government official and his employees. Their actions are being perpetrated at the expense of local villages who stand to lose everything they have worked for over many years! Stand firm brave villagers; the oppressed people of Matebeleland are firmly behind you because your plight is the same as that being experienced throughout the region!

  8. We are tired of zanu pf babariens. Jesus father help maleme people help the tax drivers in Jesus name amen

  9. Its about time people from Mthwakazi resist this oppression. We may be far away to be part of our people in Matobo but our prayers are with you. Everybody in the diaspora must know this is the time we should push further for our freedom. Lets help our brothers and sisters in Mthwakazi

  10. Its better to die than to allow this Mashingaidze to take our land.Zanu pf is still thirsty for the blood of othe

  11. I’m reminded of a similar situation half-way along the way to Vic falls…a westerner emerged to own a substantial part of the Gwayi-Shangani river valley, a hotel, a filling station…

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