Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi and his family have been drawn into a bitter farm wrangle with a Beitbridge-based war veteran, Given Mbedzi, that has spilled into the courts.
On Saturday, Mohadi allegedly threatened Mbedzi and his elderly mother Philani Ndou with unspecified action after the two refused to be ejected from the property they claim was allocated to them in 2003.
It is alleged the minister’s son, Campbell (Junior), assaulted Mbedzi’s mother and deflated the tyres of a vehicle the war veteran and his colleagues had hired to go to the farm.
Other members of the group included Soforia Ndou, Jameson Mbedzi, Alifa Mbedzi and his mother. They were all arrested on Saturday allegedly at the behest of Mohadi and his wife Tambudzani, the Zanu PF Beitbridge senator.
This came to light when the war veteran’s son, Macmillan Mbedzi, was instructing his father and five others’ lawyers Kucaca Phulu & Matshobana Ncube at the Beitbridge Magistrates’ Court yesterday where the group was supposed to be arraigned.
They are being charged with causing malicious damage to property after they allegedly tampered with locks which Mohadi had put on the structures at the farm, Lot 9 of Plot Number 1, Jopembe Block.
But the case failed to start after area prosecutor Blessing Gundani referred it to the Gwanda Provincial Magistrates’ Court.
The villagers are now due to appear in court today. According to papers shown to NewsDay, Mbedzi obtained an offer letter dated November 21 2003 signed by the then Beitbridge district administrator Eddison Mbedzi.
However, the Mohadis are claiming to have taken over the farm and have an offer letter dated October 19 2009 in the name of the minister’s 22-year-old son. The letter was signed by acting lands officer Mthulisi Moyo.
Part of the offer letter reads: “This serves to confirm that Mr Campbell Junior Mohadi (ID 02-20782837-02) has been allocated stand number 23 (formerly (1) of Lot 9 of Jopembe Block) measuring 474ha. The plot was repossessed after the former owner, Mr Given Mbedzi, abandoned it.”
Mbedzi is disputing the claims, arguing he never abandoned the farm. He further accuses the Mohadis of trying to grab the property from him because it is close to a dam which they also wanted to possess.
In a related matter, three of Mbedzi’s employees, Philimon Marubini Ndou, Ignatious Ncube and Knowledge Muleya, appeared before the same court on Tuesday and were granted $30 bail.
They were, however, re-arrested shortly afterwards on the same charges of malicious damage to property. They are being accused of cutting a five-kilometre perimeter fence the Mohadis had erected on the farm.
Yesterday, Soforia had another charge of stock theft preferred against her as it is alleged after cutting the fence, the Mohadis’ cattle strayed and were still missing.