FORMER Sports minister and Insiza North MP Andrew Langa is reported to have teamed up with his Insiza South counterpart, Malaki Nkomo (Zanu PF), to allegedly terrorise newly-resettled farmers at Atherstone Farm in a bid to kick them out of the property.
by VENERANDA LANGA
The two are said to be eyeing a part of the farm reserved for former owner Darren Maughan.
Two of the affected farmers, Valingozi Reason Sibanda and Normal Dhlamini, claimed the Zanu PF MPs were flexing their political muscle in a bid to push out Maughan off the 16 000-hectare farm.
Sibanda claimed he led the group of invaders in 1999 into Atherstone Farm during the land invasions, resulting in the community agreeing in good faith with Maughan to divide the farm.
He said the agreement was done under the supervision of the provincial leadership and traditional leaders, as well as officials from the Ministry of Lands.
“The community was then given 10 000 hectares east of the farm, while Maughan remained with 6 000 hectares on the western side,” Sibanda said.
“However, in October 2015, Nkomo brought an offer letter, saying he will occupy Maughan’s western side as the rightful owner, and he is now evicting him, yet he was not part of the original team that invaded the farm during the land invasions.”
He alleged that Nkomo’s workers were in the habit of felling trees and damaging electricity pylons and in the process caused a fire that burnt Maughan’s house and destroyed electric motors.
Sibanda further claimed at one time Nkomo accompanied Langa to Maughan’s plot on the western side, where they destroyed a vegetable patch in a bid to force him out.
“A total of 33 families are being asked to move out to make way for Nkomo,” Dhlamini chipped in.
But, Langa rubbished the claims yesterday, saying he was not interested in the farm.
“I have no plans on Atherstone Farm. I will not discuss any issues relating to Atherstone and Sibanda,” he said.
Nkomo insisted he had a genuine offer letter for the farm and accused Sibanda of terrorising villagers and engaging in unlawful acts.
“I have an offer letter, and Sibanda claims he was trained at Border Gezi and that he is a Central Intelligence Organisation operative who is well connected and cannot be removed from the land,” he shot back.
“He is using Maughan’s manager, Clinton Rogers, to abuse the community to sign petitions over Atherstone Farm. I think the issue will best be dealt with by the Provincial [Lands] Office.”
A lands officer in Insiza, who declined to be named, said the wrangle over ownership of Atherstone Farm was being handled by the Provincial Lands Office.