BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The battle for the control of the sacred Ntabazinduna Mountain has been dragging on for the past 15 years, it has emerged.
Outspoken Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni early this year escalated the fight after he backed commercial farmer Brian Davies, the previous owner of Tabas Induna farm, in his fight against the new owner Floyd Ambrose.
Besides the sacred mountain, the farm also has the famous Chief’s Lodge.
Ndiweni wants Ambrose evicted from the area on the grounds that his subjects need unfettered access to the sacred mountain.
However, documents seen by this publication show that Ambrose occupied the piece of land as far back as 2004 after the farm was taken away from Davies.
Ambrose has been running the lodge in question since then after entering into an agreement with Davies.
Before entering into this agreement that saw him assume running rights for the Chief’s Lodge, Davies was in charge of a piece of land known as Remainder of Tabas Induna, a stone’s throw away from the Chief’s Lodge.
A letter written to Ambrose by the then Lands, Land Reform and Ressetlement ministry dated April 29, 2008 shows that Ambrose was given the nod to take over the lodge by the government.
On July, 16, 2010, then Lands minister Herbert Murerwa gave Ambrose an offer letter for the piece of land under the A2 resettlement model.
On July 9, 2015, Ambrose and Davies signed an agreement to swop their pieces of land, but subject to approval from the ministry.
Under the agreement, Ambrose was to occupy Davies’ area known as Remainder of Tabas Induna. Davies was to occupy the Chief’s Lodge.
However, the Lands ministry has to date not approved the arrangement, resulting in the termination of the agreement and a fallout between the two.
Davies has refused to vacate the lodge, triggering the acrimonious fight.
“It is confirmed that the ministry officials in the province were informed of the swop and had advised Mr Davies to wait for the outcome of his application to remain on part of the farm in question before his agreement with Ambrose could be acknowledged and formalised by the Ministry of Lands,” reads a letter written by one E Sumowah on behalf of the Lands ministry.
“Davies’ application is yet to be finalised by the Ministry of Lands. The ministry is looking into the matter with a view to arriving at an equitable solution.”
Since then, it has been back and forth at the Bulawayo High Court for Davies and Ambrose.
The court issued Davies with an eviction order, but he has since appealed.
In 2008, Ambrose had to be helped by top government and Zanu PF officials such as the late vice-president Joseph Msika, Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, who then was in Zanu PF, and the then Matabeleland North governor Sithokozile Mathuthu.
This was after Central Intelligence Organisation operatives had seized keys for the chalets at the lodge.
Ndiweni’s late father, Khayisa, also fought in Ambrose’s corner.
The traditional leader told SouthEye that Ambrose was given the land despite his father’s misgivings.
“The issue has always been on the process. The issue is: How do you resettle someone on that land without the involvement of the chief when he (the chief) was not consulted and was not part of that process?” he said.
“Of concern to us is that they [government] did not show respect from the word go.
“To us, it makes no difference as to when he got the land and offer letter. That is all nonsense to us. We do not want him.”
Ndiweni accuses the government of imposing people from outside Ntabazinduna on the land.