Zanu PF fights spill into court

Zanu PF’s ugly factional and succession battles have once again spilled into the courts, with war veterans’ leader Victor Matemadanda — who is linked to the camp rallying behind embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — dragging alleged G40 kingpin and women’s league secretary for Finance, Sarah Mahoka, to the High Court.

By Fungi Kwaramba
Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) secretary general Victor Matemadanda

Matemadanda, who is among the former freedom fighters who have been targeted for a brutal clampdown by the warring ruling party, is fighting his Zanu PF opponents’ attempts to seize his Karoi farm, in Mashonaland West, a bid in which Mahoka is fingered.

Only last month, Matemadanda and other leaders of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), including spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, were arrested and charged with insulting President Robert Mugabe, as Zanu PF’s deadly succession ructions get nastier by the day.

Mahoka is said to be a leading member of the Generation 40 group, which is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions. She has previously publicly undressed the beleaguered VP, accusing him of plotting to oust Mugabe from power.

In the court case, Matemadanda — through his son Itai who manages the family’s Garowa farm — is asking the Bench to evict the “illegal” occupants who have invaded the farm, accusing them of having been sent by Mahoka who is cited as the first respondent.

“The applicant is a tobacco and maize farmer. At the time of the spoliation the applicant was in the middle of preparing nursery seeds for the coming season and preparing the land for the next season.

“Applicant has been rendered homeless and his movable property is at risk of being destroyed by the respondents and all the other people now in possession of the property.  Applicant has no access to his food, clothing and all other materials to sustain himself and his family,” reads part of Matemadanda’s court application.

He also said that he had been deprived of control over the farm and, as a result, cannot use or protect the farm equipment and all his personal belongings at the farm.

“The applicant (Matemadanda) has been deprived of control over the family’s farming and other business operations at Garowa Farm and … cannot enter the homestead which has been taken over by the 1st to 6th respondents,” he said.

His founding affidavit also cites the officer-in-charge of Tengwe police station, as well as the Minister of State for Land Reform and Resettlement in the President’s Office as the 7th and 8th respondents respectively.

“The 7th respondent is the officer in charge of Tengwe police station Hurungwe cited herein in his official capacity because a police report was made at his station in relation to the illegal trespass under RRB No. 2659000 of the 1st to 6th Respondents and several people he and all police details under him refrained from taking any action to remedy the forcible entry effected on the farm on the 7th of August 2016.

 “The 8th respondent is cited in his official capacity as the acquiring authority who is responsible for the administration of the Land Acquisition Act [Chapter 20:10] and the Acquisition of Farm Equipment and Materials Act.

“His address for service is Makombe Building, Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Harare,” reads part of the affidavit.

Matemadanda is of the view that the invasion of his farm, coming barely a month after he was arrested and expelled from Zanu PF, is a continuation of his “persecution” following the stinging communiqué that ex combatants issued against Mugabe.

Police, according to his son Itai, have not been able to move the invaders off the farm because the case is “more political than legal”.

Matemadanda’s troubles escalated when war veterans served divorce papers on Mugabe during their meeting held in Harare last month, a development that has shaken Zanu PF to its foundations.

War vets have been one of Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s strongest pillars of support over the past five decades, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian in power in the hotly disputed 2000 and 2008 elections which were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of opposition supporters.

As expected, Zanu PF has not taken lightly to the war veterans’ decision to end their long relationship which goes back to the 1970s when the country waged a brutal bush war against Ian Smith’s minority government.

Addressing a hastily convened meeting of Zanu PF supporters at the ruling party’s Harare headquarters last month, Mugabe warned the disaffected war veterans that they would be dealt with severely, including through the use of extra-judicial suppression methods that his former liberation movement incorporated during the country’s independence war — such as incarcerating dissenters in inhuman dungeons where they were forced to live like caged rats.

After his address, police launched a savage crackdown against the war vets leadership and arrested five officials, including Matemadanda and Mahiya, both of whom are currently out on bail.

According to Matemadanda’s son, Mahoka and the other six respondents accompanied by “some other unidentified persons clad in Zanu PF regalia were at the farm on August 7, chanting Zanu PF slogans and songs. They allegedly proceeded to park their vehicles on the main road granting access to the farm, thereby blocking off the farm.

The Zanu PF activists allegedly told Matemadanda’s son that they would not leave until officials from the Ministry of Lands redistributed the farm.

However, this was despite the fact that the embattled war veterans’ leader was offered the farm in 2008 and is in possession of an offer letter. – Daily News

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