OVER 300 villagers are now living in the open after they were evicted by a former army general from a farm which reportedly used to be owned by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.
BY RICHARD MUPONDE/ NIZBERT MOYO
The settlers’ homes were burnt during the evictions, leaving them at the mercy of the weather elements.
Retired Brigadier General Kindness Ndlovu allegedly descended on the farmlast week with an eviction order dated February 8 and ordered the villagers to leave Stonecraft Farm, which is on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
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The notice of eviction cited Ndlovu as the plaintiff, while Phineas Ngwenya and other villagers were cited as defendants.
“This is to advise in respect of the above case, a warrant of execution or eviction or delivery has been issued at the issuance of plaintiff represented by legal practitioners… The execution of this warrant will take place at the address Stonecraft Farm, Lower Khami, Bulawayo,” read the notice, which had no court stamp to authenticate it.
Ndlovu claimed that he bought the farm at an auction and had title deeds to it. However, investigations by Southern Eye revealed that the farm was State land, having been compulsorily acquired by government.
Records also show that previously it was owned by Nkomo, who appointed a Sivako, who has since passed away, as its manager.
On his death, the farm was left in the hands of Sivako’s sons, but was occupied during the 2000 land invasions.
The invaders have occupied the farm ever since, until Ndlovu came to evict them.
The stranded villagers yesterday told Southern Eye that they were surprised to see Ndlovu coming to evict them because they knew that the farm belonged to the State.
“This week he came again with another notice of eviction dated February 8 from the sheriff and started burning people’s homes. We are now stranded; some of us having been here since 2000. We never saw him until 2015 when he tried to evict us. Our traditional leaders know about our presence here,’’ Moffat Sibanda said.
Lands ministry secretary, Ringson Chitsiko yesterday said he was unaware of the matter and urged the affected villagers to report to the police and Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo.
“They should go to the police right away and make a report against him. They should also quickly inform the Minister of State,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Ndlovu were fruitless yesterday.
His mobile phone was not reachable.