I recommended Obert Mpofu to be offered Esidakeni Farm: Moyo

Minister of State Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Matabeleland North, Richard Moyo, is the one who recommended Zanu PF secretary for administration Dr Obert Mpofu, as an eligible beneficiary for land allocation at Esidakeni farm, despite him reportedly having multiple farms.

Esidakeni, a 553-hectare dairy farm in Nyamandlovu, is co-owned by human rights advocate Siphosami Malunga, son of late nationalist Sydney Malunga and business partners – gold miner Charles Moyo and a National University of Science and Technology (NUST) scientist Zephaniah Dhlamini.

Malunga and partners purchased Esidakeni in 2017 from former white farmers through Kershelmar Farms (Private) Limited.

But the farm has been at the centre of an ownership wrangle after the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement Anxious Masuku reportedly acquired it via a Notice of Acquisition General Notice 3042 of 2020 in the government gazette on December 18, 2020.

Lands officials said the 553-hectare property was to be distributed to 14 landless blacks where businessman and NUST lecturer, Dumisani Madzivanyati was allocated 50 hectares of the farm after it was listed.

Dr Mpofu also emerged as one of the beneficiaries after a letter from the lands minister in June 30, 2021, allocated a disproportionate 145 hectares of Esidakeni to a company called Mswelangubo Farm (Private) Limited that he owns with his wife, Sikhanyisiwe, with each holding 50 percent shareholding.

The allocation was made despite Dr Mpofu reportedly owning a catalogue of real estate in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, with total farm holdings that come to at least 65,000 hectares, placing him “amongst the country’s biggest landowners.”

This was revealed in a 2012 investigation by Partnership Africa Canada where Dr Mpofu emerged as one of the “top five landowners in Zimbabwe.”

In an interview with CITE, Moyo confirmed that he recommended that Mpofu be allocated a portion of the farm but dismissed claims that Madzivanyati was his proxy.

“I am not the lands minister. I recommended Mpofu but land is given by the minister of lands. I recommended Mpofu because he applied as a Zimbabwean,” Moyo said.

“They are mad, Madzivanyati is an old man, who is a businessman. He’s a beneficiary on that farm and he did not take the farm by himself. He was given by the government. Madzivanyati is not my worker at that farm.”

Madzivanyati was kicked out of the farm on Tuesday by the deputy sheriff but defied the order and reoccupied the farm.

Moyo claimed he had advised Malunga and his partners to also apply to be beneficiaries but they refused.

“I told them (Malunga and partners) to come and apply, but they refused so they can go to hell,” Moyo said.

Moyo stated he was not a beneficiary of Esidakeni, as he had his own farm.

“What stake do I have there? That (Esidakeni) is state land, it’s a government farm. It was given to new beneficiaries. I don’t have a stake. I have my own farm separate from Esidakeni,” said the Matabeleland North minister.

In recent reports, Dr Mpofu said he was offered a piece of land and warned Malunga including Moyo and Dlamini of dire consequences if they continued using social media to abuse him where they claimed Madzivanyati was his proxy.

However, Malunga and partners believe the Central Intelligence Organisation’s co-deputy director-general Gatsha Mzithulela, CIO operative Reason Mpofu are the ones behind the farm seizure, including Dr Mpofu and Moyo – the Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister.

The CIO agent Reason Mpofu, is reported to be a nephew of the former minister while Madzivanyati is alleged to be a friend of the Matabeleland North minister.

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