THE Western Commonage courts in Bulawayo have ordered that Chief Deli Mabhena of Nyamandlovu, who allegedly illegally resettled more than 400 squatters at Badminton Farm owned by 89-year-old Lot Senda, be brought to court as he must be treated as the first accused in the case.
SILAS NKALA, STAFF REPORTER
Court papers show that on September 19 2011, following the illegal resettlement of 406 people, most of them drawn from Pumula, Senda made a report to the police, leading to the arrest of some of the illegal settlers.
Twenty-three settlers are appearing in the courts.
The Attorney-General’s Office then issued Chief Deli with a warrant of arrest, but since then the police were yet to bring him to court.
Representatives of the illegal settlers on September 2 appeared before Western Commonage Courts magistrates Willard Maphios Moyo and Themba Chimiso, charged for illegally settling in a farm owned by Senda, who had earlier on produced tittle deeds to the chief showing that he owns the farm.
Senda is one of Zimbabwe’s first black law advocates.
The magistrates advised the State that Chief Deli must be treated as the first accused as he was the one who allegedly illegally resettled the people in a privately owned land.
The case was postponed indefinitely. State papers show that Senda, of Majestic Court in Bulawayo, owns Badminton Farm along Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road in Umguza District, which falls under Bulawayo policing district.
It is the State case that on July 22 2011 at about 10am, 10 members met at one Daniel Sipepa’s (57) house in Pumula, Bulawayo, to deliberate on the issue of asking for land in Chief Deli’s area. They allegedly agreed that Sipepa would present their petition to the chief.
On July 27 at 8am, Sipepa and other representatives of the land seekers, Abednigo Ngwenya, Peter Simba ex-councillor for Ward 16 and Henry Mathuthu a Zanu PF member, went to see the village head Leonard Mbuya Ncube of Nyamandlovu in Chief Deli’s area.
They asked him whether there was any farm lying idle.
A team comprising the village head Mini Moyo, Sipepa, Mathuthu, Zimba and Ngwenya allegedly went to Chief Deli to present their request.
On August 2, Chief Deli allegedly met the land committee at Sipepa’s house and explained to them about the traditions and customs of that particular area, advising them to observe the values.
On August 22 at 7am, Sipepa and his committee allegedly went to Badminton Farm to show the area to Chief Deli, who in turn allegedly agreed to resettle them there.
The chief was allegedly given the names of 76 people who were to be resettled.
On the same day at 3pm, Sipepa and his committee allegedly went to the farm situated 35km west of Pumula Police Station.
This was after they were told the farm had been lying idle for too long and had no owner.
It is alleged that on the same day, in that farm, they allegedly identified the area they would use for grazing their livestock.
On the same day at 5pm, the owner of the farm, Senda, went to Sipepa’s house and informed him and his committee that the land they intended to settle in was, in fact, his and he had title deeds to it.
On August 28 at 2pm, Sipepa and his committee allegedly went to Chief Deli’ place and informed him that the land they had identified belonged to Senda who had title deeds.
Chief Deli allegedly continued to resettle people on it regardless of the revelations of ownership.
On September 4 at 7am, Sipepa, his committee and 76 settlers, settled on the farm and were allocated
pieces of land measuring 10 000m² each.
The settlers were allegedly made to pay $31 by Sipepa, which was said to be for fuel and administration issues.
On September 19, Senda made a report to the police.