Home » Judicial » Villagers Spy Farm Wrangle Spills Into Court

TWELVE Matobo villagers who were arrested Monday for allegedly kidnapping a man employed by a CIO spy, with whom the villagers are involved in a farm wrangle, have been granted free bail.

The 12 were part of a group of villagers who were picked up by police at Maleme Farm on Monday after they had forced their way back into the farm and resumed work.

The villagers had initially been evicted from the ranch where they were involved in farming activities before the property was allocated to Rodney Mashingaidze, a spy based at President Mugabe’s office.

But on Monday 40 of them forcibly returned to the farm and resumed work in what has been hailed as exemplary defiance against the oppressive state.

Other villagers, who included women and the elderly, were later released while the twelve, all men, were slapped with kidnapping charges.

The farm is registered in David Cunningham’s name but Mashingaidze says it has been given to him by the state.

The 12 men appeared before Kezi Magistrate Tuesday, Jimmy Ntonga, charged with kidnapping Cephas Ndlovu (56), employed at the farm in question as a security guard.

They were represented by Tanaka Muganyi of Dube-Banda, Nzarayapenga and partners.

The state’s case is that on March 9 at around 8am, Ndlovu was at Maleme Ranch, Kezi doing his normal duties when the villagers pounced on him armed with knobkerries and axes.

They then demanded that Ndlovu should leave the farmhouse or risk being killed.

Ndlovu was ordered to pack his possessions and surrender the keys to one Peter Moyo. He was then force-marched along a foot path towards Nathisa shopping centre with his tormenters threatening to club and axe him if he attempted to run away.

As they approached Nathisa they met Mashingaidze who phoned the police who attended the scene and arrested the villagers.

Delivering his ruling during the bail hearing, the magistrate questioned why the state wanted stringent bail conditions when the accused persons were old men who had earlier cooperated with the police.

He then released them on free bail and ordered them not to interfere with the state witnesses.

The trial starts on March 19.

The Maleme issue has raised widespread rumpus across Matabeleland South with activists saying the state was deliberately allocating pieces of land to outsiders as a way to further side line the region.

That most beneficiaries of land grab are CIO officers who were also part of the 1980s genocide which targeted Ndebele speaking people, has not made the matters any better.

Source : New Zimbabwe