Power cut leaves livestock on verge of destruction


Livestock worth millions of dollars is on the verge of destruction after police in Nyamandlovu turned off power supply to a farm belonging to a white farmer as a way of pushing him off the farm.
Gary Godfrey, the owner of Highfields Farm told NewsDay yesterday that police descended on his farm in Nyamandlovu to arrest him.
His crime: illegally occupying state land.
The dispute over the farm is at the High Court in Bulawayo and, according to Godfrey, the case could be heard soon.
“I have filed an urgent High Court application and the judge has said the case might be heard soon,” said Godfrey. “I want my farm back and the police off that farm.”
The farmer chronicled how the police took over his farm and cut off electricity and water supplies to the farm.
“The police from Matabeleland North came to my farm some four weeks ago. They told my farm workers they wanted to arrest me for having continued to illegally occupy state land,” he said.
“Unfortunately for them and fortunately for me, I was not on the farm.”
He said after failing to locate him, the police demanded to see his farm manager, but they failed to locate him as the manager was also away.
“After failing to get both of us, they told my workers to stop working as the farm had been taken over,” Godfrey said.
As a result of the police orders to the farm workers, Godfrey said his farm produce and livestock were at risk of destruction.
“There are 10 000 chickens on the farm, 130 head of cattle, 260 sheep as well as onions and tomatoes,” said Godfrey.
“The police cut off electricity that supplied power to the engine which then pumps water to the farm. As a result, the animals have no water and face death,” Godfrey added.
There were also hectares of maize crop waiting to be harvested.
“This kind of treatment means that I will lose all the animals and the maize I had on that farm. I am still interested in farming and I hope to be able to go back to my farm.”
Godfrey’s nightmares date back to the year 2000. He says initially, he was a holder of more than 18 500 hectares of land on which he was into productive farming.
The Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, through its Matabeleland North officials, cut the farm size to about 1 500 hectares.
“I was told that the farmland was too big for one farmer. The officials from the ministry of lands told me the size of land fit for Matabeleland North farmers was 1 500 hectares and they took away the bigger chunk.
“Then came again and said the land they had left me with was still too big and I was supposed to remain with only 200 hectares.
Now they want me off the farm completely,” Godfrey said.
Police spokesperson, Oliver Mandipaka, said he was unaware of the incident.
“I can only comment when I get an update from the police in Nyamandlovu.
“At the moment, I need to find out what has been happening there,” he said.