Mohadis throw out farmers

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Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi and his wife Tambudzani have reportedly sealed off the plots near the border town that are at the centre of an ownership wrangle between them, on one hand, and Given Mbedzi and a widow, Sophoria Ndou, on the other, which has spilled into the courts.

This came to light yesterday when Sibusiso Ncube, a lawyer representing Given Mbedzi, Sophoria Ndou, James Mbedzi, Alifa Mbedzi, Knowledge Muleya and Givens mother, Philani Ndou, was making an application at the Gwanda Magistrates Court for a variation of bail conditions since the accused had been ordered to reside at the plots under dispute.

The application came after the release of the six on Wednesday following the States withdrawal of its appeal against Gwanda magistrate Sheila Nazombes decision to grant them bail.

On Thursday last week, the prosecutor, Mazwi Goto, invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act suspending bail granted by Nazombe.

But on Wednesday he made a U-turn and the six were released before the lapse of the seven days stipulated by the section he had invoked.

Yesterday, the accused were given a longer remand to March 6 to allow the State to put its house in order as it conceded that it was not prepared to go to trial since it was still to record statements from the accused persons.

Given Mbedzi and his alleged accomplices are being accused of tampering with doors and locks which had been installed at the disputed farm situated 80km west of Beitbridge town.

The locks and doors had been put by Minister Mohadis 22-year-old son, Campbell Junior, whom the parents reportedly wanted to take over the farm ahead of Given Mbedzi, a former freedom fighter.

Mbedzi and his alleged accomplices first appeared in court on Thursday last week with their defence counsel, Kucaca Phulu and Matshobana Ncube, applying for a refusal of remand.

Nazombe dismissed the application, saying she could not determine the issues at that stage and ordered the six to be placed on remand.

However, soon after being placed on remand, they made a bail application and Nazombe remanded them out of custody on their own cognisance.

The State then invoked Section 121 giving notice of appeal to the High Court.

On the same day stocktheft charges which had been preferred against Sophoria Ndou were thrown out by Nazombe for lack of evidence.

She had been accused of cutting a fence erected at her plot whose ownership is also being contested by the Mohadis, leading to 15 head of cattle belonging to the Mohadis straying.

The six, who were in high spirits yesterday, were not asked to plead to malicious damage to property charges when they appeared before Gwanda magistrate Geraldine Valerie Mutsoto.

Campbell and his mother, who is also the Senator for Beitbridge, sat in the public gallery in court.
The accused persons were initially supposed to appear at the Beitbridge courts on Wednesday last week, but the matter was transferred to Gwanda for further management reportedly on the orders of Gwanda area prosecutor Blessing Gundani.