HomeNewsCourtsZanu PF invaders run out of luck

Zanu PF invaders run out of luck

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LEADERS of Zanu PF supporters that invaded the Bulawayo City Council-owned Mazwi Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Pumula yesterday appeared in court facing charges of criminal trespass.

LINDA CHINOBVA
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Tariro Magovanyika (34) and Mark Muunganirwa (35), both of Cowdray Park, were not asked to plead to the charges when they appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Tancy Dube-Chipumha.

They were remanded out of custody to September 9 on their own cognisance.

However, the pair’s court appearance was characterised by high drama as over 100 Zanu PF supporters clad in party regalia besieged the court building in solidarity with their leaders.

Court orderlies intervened and barred the Zanu PF supporters from entering the court building.

The parking space was filled by party supporters bussed to court in lorries and commuter omnibuses.

The Southern Eye crew was caught up in the storm after some of the supporters menacingly charged towards their vehicle and threatened to deal with them as they were uninvited guests at the court.

This reporter had to seek refuge in one of the court’s offices as the angry mob threatened to deal with her for covering their leaders’ court appearance.

Charges against Magovanyika and Muunganirwa were that on June 19 they unlawfully entered Mazwi and allocated land measuring 500x250m to themselves and other individuals numbering about 400 without the authority of the owner.

Prosecutor Sibekithemba Dube told the court that the two went on to cut down trees on the land they had been illegally allocated for “resettlement”.

“The two accused persons trespassed into Mazwi Nature Reserve which belongs to council.

“The accused persons then mobilised and issued stands to a number of individuals and started clearing the land for resettlement,” she said.

The two said they had no money on them, resulting in Dube-Chipumba granting them free bail. However, some residents that were allocated land at the seized sanctuary told Southern Eye last week that Magovanyika and the self-styled chief security officer at Mazwi, Mark Makotami, were charging desperate land-seekers $5 as “administration fees” and demanding groceries.

According to Makotami, about 3 800 people had been “resettled” at the council property by last week and more were on the waiting list.

This means the leaders of the invasion have collected over $19 000 since they started illegally parcelling out land at Mazwi in June.
The groceries are reportedly used to feed the Zanu PF officials in charge of the occupation.

Magovanyika led Zanu PF supporters onto the council property saying the land was lying idle while thousands of residents remained landless.

They initially claimed the invasion had the backing of Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial leaders before changing tune when the party’s provincial boss Calistus Ndlovu (pictured) advised council to evict them.

The leaders of the invasion attacked Ndlovu for his stance saying he was anti-people for supporting their eviction and accused him of turning his back on land-hungry residents because he allegedly owned multiple farms.

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