Mugabe aide in farm drama

CONFUSION continues to reign over ownership of Centenary Farm after one of President Robert Mugabe’s top aides allegedly refused to vacate the farm in violation of a court order, while Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora has written to the farm’s owner telling him of its acquisition.

Richard Muponde
Senior Court REPORTER

The farm owner, David Connolly, celebrated a short-lived victory after the Bulawayo High Court ordered Ray Ndhlukula, a top aide in Mugabe’s office, off the farm and sentenced him to a suspended 90-day jail term.

Instead of the enforcement of the High Court order, Connolly was instead charged with occupying the farm illegally, despite him having been forced out to make way for Ndhlukula.

On the other hand, Ndhlukula has not started moving out of the farm despite a ruling by Bulawayo judge Justice Maxwell Takuva barring him from evicting the farmer and interfering with his farming operations.

Takuva last week ordered Ndhlukula to remove all his livestock and movable assets from the farm within 48 hours of being served the order.

He was reportedly served the order on Monday last week and 48 hours lapsed on Thursday.

However, Connolly yesterday told Southern Eye that there was no movement of property from the farm as ordered by the court.

“They have done nothing,” he said.

Instead of the enforcement of the High Court order, Connolly was instead charged with occupying the farm illegally, despite him having been forced out to make way for Ndhlukula.

Instead of the enforcement of the High Court order, Connolly was instead charged with occupying the farm illegally, despite him having been forced out to make way for Ndhlukula.

“The property is still at the farm and I am told there isn’t any movement at all.

“I will be seeing my legal counsel to discuss the way forward.

“I will not be going to the farm until he’s removed.”

Ndhlukula’s 90-day prison sentence was suspended on condition that he complied fully with the order and the provisional order in case number HC1204/14 with 14 days.

In his ruling, Justice Takuva said it should be noted that contempt of court was a serious infraction in that it struck at the heart of the rule of law and consequently those found liable must be sufficiently punished.

Connolly is embroiled in a fierce legal battle with Ndhlukula, who has been trying to move into Centenary Farm since June last year despite a High Court order barring him from interfering with operations at the property.

Connolly failed to plant at the farm where Ndhlukula had planted a maize crop.

Ndhlukula, in December 2014, drove his cattle onto the farm despite the court interdict.

Mugabe’s aide reportedly tried to take over David’s brother, Michael’s Benovullum Farm in the same area, as punishment for Connolly’s “lack of respect” in getting a court order against him.

Connolly’s property is one of the most productive in Matabeleland South.

Ndhlukula’s workers camped at Connolly’s farm in August last year after the eviction of farm workers from their dwellings.

In September 2014, Connolly was chased from the farm and his workers were stopped from growing crops by Ndhlukula’s workers before the farm was barricaded.

Ndhlukula reportedly has two other farms in Matabeleland South — Wilfred Hope Farm in Marula and Vlakfontein, otherwise known as Subdivision 2 of Marula Block.

The drama in the farm takeover came barely a day after the acquisition of another farm in the province, Maleme, was reversed after locals put up a spirited show of resistance.

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