Ndhlukula guilty

Mugabe aide in trouble

Southern Eye

17 March 2015

ONE of President Robert Mugabe’s top aides, Ray Ndhlukula, has been sentenced to 90 days in prison for defying a court order barring him from evicting Figtree farmer David Conolly from his Centenary Farm.

Richard Muponde - Senior Court Reporter

Ndhlukula defied a provisional order granted last year barring him from evicting Conolly or interfering with his operations at the farm.

However, Mugabe’s top man went on to evict the farmer and brought his workers, farm machinery and livestock to the farm in direct defiance of the court order.

Conolly then approached the court in August last year seeking a contempt of court order against Ndhlukula which was granted on Thursday last week.

In his ruling, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva said it should be noted that contempt of court was a serious infraction in that it struck at the heart of the rule of law and consequently those found liable must be sufficiently punished.

“Accordingly, there shall be an order in the following terms: It is declared that the first respondent (Ndhlukula) is in contempt of court,” reads the judgment.

“The first respondent, together with his employees and all persons occupying through him are ordered to fully comply with the provisional order issued in case number HC1204/14 and shall do so by fully vacating the farm Subdivisions A of Centenary situated in the Bulilima district and removing all livestock and movable assets within 48 hours of service, upon the first respondent of this order.

“Any person and/or property remaining upon the property in defiance of paragraph 2 shall be evicted by the sheriff of this court.

“The second respondent (officer commanding police, Matabeleland South) shall provide an escort and any physical assistance necessary to the sheriff during service and execution of this order.

Figtree farmer Dave Conolly

“The first respondent be and is hereby sentenced to 90 days imprisonment suspended on condition that he complies fully with this order and the provisional order in case number 1204/14 within 14 days of the date of this order.”

Conolly is embroiled in a fierce legal battle with Ndhlukula, who has been trying to move into Centenary Farm since June last year despite a High Court order barring him from interfering with operations at the property.

Conolly failed to plant at his farm where Ndhlukula had planted a maize crop.

Ndhlukula in December 2014 moved his cattle onto the farm despite the court interdict.

Mugabe’s aide reportedly tried to take over David’s brother, Michael’s Benovullum Farm, in the same area, as punishment for Conolly’s “lack of respect” in getting a court order against him.

The legal wrangle between Conolly and Ndhlukula has sucked in Mugabe’s nephew, a top cop, Deputy Police Commissioner Innocent Matibiri.

Conolly’s property is one of the most productive in Matabeleland South.

Ndhlukula’s workers camped at Conolly’s farm in August last year after the eviction of farm workers from their dwellings.

The contempt of court case against Ndhlukula was filed at the High Court. In September 2014, Conolly was chased from the farm and his workers were stopped from growing crops by Ndhlukula’s workers before the farm was barricaded.

Ndhlukula reportedly has two other farms in Matabeleland South — Wilfred Hope Farm in Marula and Vlakfontein — otherwise known as Subdivision 2 of Marula Block.

The reversal of the farm takeover comes barely a day after the acquisition of another farm in the province, Maleme, was reversed after locals put up a spirited show of resistance.