BULAWAYO High Court judge, Justice Martin Makonese, has ordered Beitbridge Senator Tambudzani Mohadi and Zanu PF Matabeleland South provincial chairperson, Rabelani Choeni, to stop interfering with commercial farmer, George Watson’s farming activities at Double O Ranch in Gwanda.
BY SILAS NKALA
The ruling, made last week, follows Watson’s urgent chamber application seeking an interdict order barring Mohadi, Choeni and two other villagers from interfering with his activities at the farm also known, as the remaining extent of Makhado Ranch.
Watson has since 2003 been locked in a protracted legal battle with the Zanu PF politicians following accusations that he had failed to co-exist with members of the surrounding community.
The farm, spanning 10 000 hectares, had been divided into two sections with Watson and his mother, Paxotius (70) allocated 2 000 hectares while 8 000 was given to Siyoka villagers.
In his application, Watson had also cited a local councillor, Amon Ndou and headman, Hebert Siyoka, as well as the chairperson of the Gwanda district land committee.
Watson runs a flourishing banana plantation at the farm.
He told the court he was pushed out of his property in 2001 during the land reform programme, but returned in 2003 after successfully presenting his case to the government, which subsequently allocated him 2 000 hectares.
“On August 27, 2016, Mohadi, Choeni, Siyoka, Ndou and a group of at least 10 people confronted my security officer at the entrance of the farm and demanded access into the farm with the intention to inspect it. No clear explanation was given …,” he submitted.
He further said Mohadi, Choeni, Ndou and some villager also stormed his mother’s homestead, saying they had taken over the property.
He said they listed all his assets and ordered that nothing should be removed since it now belonged to Zanu PF women’s league, after which Choeni and Siyoka demanded to search the homestead in the pretext they were looking for firearms.
The farmer said Mohadi had since deployed personnel to constantly monitor and supervise sales and farming activities at the farm.
He also told the court in 2011, he obtained a $650 000 loan from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and developed the farm into a thriving banana plantation with 60 000 plants, but its invasion spelt doom.