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Mohadi, new farmers in land battle

The resettled farmers, some of them war veterans, have been involved in a long running dogfight with the minister, in a case that at one time saw one plot holder seeking a peace order against Mohadi’s wife, Tambudzani. In a letter addressed to war veterans Matabeleland South chairperson, a Mr Siziba, the resettled farmers claim Mohadi wants to resettle his child, Campbell Junior and his nephew, Danisa Muleya.

The plot holders claim a 2009 meeting, with the blessing of the District Administrator, changed the status of the Lot 9 A1 self-contained farms to A2 and this invited the interest of Mohadi, who already occupies the adjacent Lot 10. This, the farmers say, was later reversed by the Provincial Land Committee, which charged that the district committee had erred in handling the matter, considering that the meeting did not have a quorum.

The farmers claimed that the DA, Simon Muleya had approached them and offered them alternative land to avoid confrontation with the Mohadis. But the farmers resisted, saying they would not move as the land had been allocated to them and this they say, led to Mohadi employing strong-arm tactics, a charge the minister denied.

“Whoever is saying that, should go to the DA,” he charged. “I am not an authority on land issues.”
Mohadi, without commenting on the individual case, said there was a chain that people could follow from the District Land Committee, the Provincial Land Committee and the Minister of Lands if they felt hard done.

The DA, Muleya, declined to comment, saying the matter had been referred to the Provincial Lands Committee and he, therefore, could not comment on it. But the resettled farmers claim Mohadi has erected a 1,4 metre high fence that stretches for four and a half kilometres, which fenced off two farmers, while taking almost two thirds and half of the two other nearby plots respectively.

“(This) has created an island for the plot holders, as we are no longer able to access each other or the nearest (water source)Zhove Dam,” reads the letter.

“This is because no gateways were created along the fencing line thus shutting down all the access routes, hence violating our rights to access land lawfully allocated to us.”

The farmers further claim they resisted this and this led to Mohadi’s guard, whom they identified as Knowledge, threatening them with a gun after they attempted to stop him from driving their livestock off the land.
The farmers said the matters were handled by Officer-In-Charge of Beitbridge Rural, an Inspector Mumanyi, with one case having been reported on August 12.

The police boss also sat in the District Land Committee meetings that deliberated the conflict but he declined to comment referring the matter to Officer Commanding Beitbridge, a Chinhengo.

Chinhengo however, said he was not aware any such reports were made, despite the fact that his subordinate had sat in all the District Land Committee meetings.

“Our workers are continually harassed by both the politicians’ farm guards and also by the Beitbridge Rural police officers based at Mohadi’s farm,” the farmers conclude. “This leaves us asking where our legitimate freedoms and land empowerment are.”

The Provincial Land Committee is reported to have recommended that the fence be removed, while those that owned land as per previous audits held early this year should remain on their properties. Despite the recommendations being made in August, the farmers say action is yet to be taken, although the PLC is scheduled to meet at the end of the month and this will be one of the items on the agenda.
Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku said she could not comment because the matter was “above” her.

In another letter dated September 25, one farmer alleges that Mohadi threatened to shoot his mother and killed a sheep.

He further alleges that the minister returned at 10pm and shot a dog, apparently in an effort to intimidate the farmers that were refusing to be evicted.
In response they allege they tried to make a report to the police, but were told that the officers did not have any power to arrest their minister.

“When a report is made to the Beitbridge Rural police about affairs involving the said politicians, no visible or tangible action is taken,” the letter reads.

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