Land dispute lands Nyamandlovu farmer in court

A Nyamandlovu farmer has been arrested after he allegedly threatened to shoot officials from the Ministry of Lands whom he found pegging inside his property without his knowledge.

Ramutsi Kabohlalo Mukwena (37), owner of Welcome Farm, has since appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Adelaide Mbeure facing charges of making violent threats.

Mukwena told the court that the police were unprofessionally handling his matter, citing they were acting under instructions of corrupt officials who are eyeing his farm. 

Through his lawyer, Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys, Mukwena demanded that the State investigates the circumstances around the issue before the matter proceeds to trial.

Sithole explained to the court that when the employees from the Ministry of Lands were found pegging inside the farm, Mukwena subsequently went to report the matter to Pumula police station and he informed his mother who also made a police report to Nkulumane police station.

The police, Sithole said, never thoroughly investigated but instead arrested Mukwena when the Ministry of Lands employees made a counter report to the police.

“Your Worship, we have serious displeasure about how the matter was handled. Accused is a victim of individuals who invaded his farm and attempted to order him out. He went to report the matter at Pumula police station, at the same time when his mother was also reporting at Nkulumane police station,” Sithole said.

“At this time Your Worship, the complainants had not made any reports. The police, who are being ‘handled’ by the so called powerful complainants decided to charge my client instead. The impartiality of the police is at stake. My client’s right to be protected by the police is being compromised.”

Sithle raised concerns that the one of the witnesses is allegedly a rowdy official of the Ministry of Lands who may stand to benefit should the farm be partitioned.

He said on two occasions they have approached the National Prosecuting Authority pleading with them to bring forth more details pertaining to the issue but nothing has materialised.

“There are a lot of missing facts in this matter Your Worship and until the State brings forth that information we cannot proceed to trial. The State is being bullied by one of the witnesses. Someone is calling the shots telling the police and the State what to do. It’s like there are some people who feel more Zimbabwean than others and that is not fair,” Sithole said.

“We want to know who among the witnesses is an employee at the Ministry of Lands. They have sent people to the accused farm telling police what to do. We demand that the State provides information on individuals who amongst them work with the Ministry of Land. We want a list of potential beneficiaries of the partitioning of the farm. This court is mandated to sanitise such land disputes.”

Magistrate Mbeure ordered that the State looks into the issues raised by the defense counsel and furnish the court with written submissions by November 30.

Allegations against Mukwena as presented by prosecutor Stewart Madzore, are that on October 20, he went to his farm and found a team of employees from Ministry of Lands from Mhlahlandlela led by one Jili Mutemeli pegging inside his farm.

Madzore said Mukwena approached the team and ordered them out of his farm, threatening to shoot them if they resisted.

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