A bitter land ownership wrangle looms in Matabeleland South Province following threats by Bulilima North MP Moses Mzila-Ndlovu to force the eviction of more than 100 Masvingo-based Apostolic Church members resettled in his area last month.
Mzila-Ndlovu says he will petition Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku and Mangwe district administrator Felicity Gangada to reverse the allocation, claiming farmers in his constituency should have been considered first.
He said residents in his constituency had already started signing the petition.
Some 100 Apostolic Church families, believed to be from Masvingo, were resettled at Lydead Farm owned by the Rosenfels family.
The farm is located in Figtree which falls under Bulilima North constituency.
“I have started distributing the petition,” said Ndlovu.
“This is the best way we can take to reclaim a modicum of power as leaders in Matabeleland.
“If we can get the support of our constituency, then we will be able to take this issue head-on,” he said.
“We want to take our time collecting signatures because we want to have as many people as possible signing the petition. If we have 500 people signing the petition they can be dismissed as a few disgruntled individuals,” he said.
Masuku is on record saying President Robert Mugabe had authorised allocation of the farm to the church members and that the deal was irreversible.
Said Masuku: “What I know is there is a farm there that was allocated to the Apostolic sect in a lawful manner. When I contacted the Bulilima land office I was told there was no invasion. If they have members of the sect who come from other regions and are settling there, it is their choice.”