15 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Co-Home Affairs Minister Defies Year-Long Court Order

Home Affairs co-Minister Kembo Mohadi, whose job is to enforce law and order in the country, is ignoring the rule of law himself.

Lawyer Matshobana Ncube is representing five villagers in Beitbridge, who won a land ownership case in the High Court against Mohadi last year.

But he said the minister has refused to comply with the court order

The villagers and their families were given land through the government resettlement programme and Mohadi had been allocated land in the same area.

Mohadi was not reachable for comment but Ncube told SW Radio Africa that the minister, "evicted the villagers out of their land holdings and erected a fence incorporating the plots with his own. Effectively the villagers have been forced out of their homes because they had their livestock and belongings there."

The police are also accused of failing to assist the families and of refusing to assist the messenger of court to force the minister to remove the fence from the disputed land.

The lawyer has now filed an application for contempt of court against Mohadi, his family and the officer commanding Beitbridge police. Mohadi risks arrest for resisting the year long High Court order.

"Unfortunately the minister has been evasive in being served with the papers. Ncube added: "If they fail to do so we are seeking an order that that they be locked up for 90 days in prison so that they comply."

Chopembe block of farms belonged to a white commercial farmer before it was acquired by the state and then redistributed to the villagers. Ncube says one of the affected villagers has a huge dam on his land and they suspected this is one of the reasons Mohadi "is bulldozing his way into the land."

The lawyer said there is a 'catastrophic humanitarian situation' for the villagers who have nowhere to live.

The minister is said to already own several properties and land in this southern region of Zimbabwe.

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