Esidakeni Farm (formerly Kershelmar Farm, of Kershelmar Dairys) was purchased in 2017 by Siphosami Malunga (Director of Initiative for Southern Africa), Zephaniah Dhlamini (scientist and university lecturer ), and Charles Moyo (businessman). The state then acquired the farm in 2020 via a Notice of Acquisition General Notice 3042 that appeared in a government gazette.

Malunga had set aside the land for landless villagers in Umguza. Obert Mpofu (former Minister of Home Affairs) and his wife Sikhanyisiwe, occupied 145 hectares of the contested 550 hectares of the farm and put guards at the gate.

Location

Kershelmar Farm Umguza, Matabeleland North Province.
Address: 112 A Josiah Tongogara St, Nyamandhlovu,
Telephone: 08 7396
Cell:
Email:
Web: :
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History

Details are laid out in the court document: Judgment No. SC 80/22 SUPREME COURT OF ZIMBABWE GWAUNZA DCJ, CHITAKUNYE JA & MWAYERA JA BULAWAYO, 23 MARCH 2022 & 8 JULY 2022

Mswelangubo Farm (Private) Limited and Another v Kershelmar Farms (Private) Limited and 3 Others (80 of 80) [2022] ZWSC 80 (08 July 2022);

FACTUAL BACKGROUND The facts giving rise to this appeal are straight forward and largely common cause as set out herein. The first respondent is the owner of Esidakeni Farm held under Deed of Transfer 1980/90 (“the farm”). On 18 December 2020, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement acquired the farm, through a Notice of Acquisition being General Notice 3042 of 2020, under the land reform programme. The respondents instituted an application in the court a quo seeking to nullify the purported acquisition on the basis that it was constitutionally invalid. That application is yet to be determined.

In March 2021, the second appellant visited the farm making enquiries about it. Pursuant to that visit in November 2021 the third appellant and a group of people visited the farm and advised the manager that they had come to occupy the farm. On 4 December 2021, the aforementioned group of people returned to the farm and started ploughing a field known as Block F and Block H. The group claimed that they had been given an offer letter. The fields they cultivated had been occupied by the respondents who at the time of invasion were preparing land for cropping.

Disgruntled by the conduct of the incoming intruders the respondents filed an urgent chamber application in the court a quo seeking spoliatory relief. They alleged that they had been in peaceful and undisturbed possession of the farm. The respondents contended that they had further installed improvements on the farm. The respondents further asserted that the appellants had unlawfully resorted to self-help thereby disrupting their farming activities.

The appellants opposed the application for spoliatory relief. They contended that they are the rightful occupants of the farm since they are holders of an offer letter and had given the respondents three months’ notice to vacate the farm. The appellants further submitted that when they moved in they did not cause any violence and that there were no occupants at the time. They maintained that by virtue of the offer letter, they were legally entitled to occupy the farm as they did. [2]


Other information

Further Reading

In April 2022, a Zanu PF-linked university lecturer (from National University of Science and Technology) was being sued by a prominent human rights lawyer for loss of potential income valued at US$340,000.

Dumisani Madzivanyati, according to a High Court filing, “forcefully and unlawfully” occupied Esidakeni Farm in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North, between September and November 2021. Esikadeni, a 554-hectare farm, was owned by rights lawyer and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa director Siphosami Malunga, scientist Zephaniah Dhlamini and miner Charles Moyo. Madzivanyati was accused of unlawfully tampering with the irrigation system and depriving crops of water during the critical reproductive stage. It was said Madzivanyathi “was aware that his conduct would cause significant damage to the plaintiffs’ crops but persisted regardless of this knowledge.”

Malunga, Dhlamini and Moyo are challenging the compulsory acquisition of the farm by the government, arguing that it is unconstitutional. Malunga says the farm grab which has sucked in Matabeleland North minister Richard Moyo and Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu is punishment for his human rights advocacy.

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In August 2022 it was reported that police were preparing criminal charges against prominent rights advocate Siphosami Malunga and his two business partners in an escalation of a fight over Esidakeni Farm in Matabeleland North. Esidakeni Farm Wrangle: Police Preparing Criminal Charges Against Owners – Report [1]

One of the co-owners of Esidakeni Farm, Charles Moyo was arrested in Bulawayo by police from Nyamandlovu who alleged the businessmen had unlawfully occupied a State-gazetted farm. Thier lawyer said initially the police wanted to arrest Dhlamini but could not as he was off to present a lecture before a parliamentary portfolio in Kadoma. Moyo, owns Esidakeni, also known as Kershelmar Farms (Private) Limited along with lecturer Zephaniah Dhlamini and Siphosami Malunga, Since 2020, they have been resisting attempts from the State to take the farm. Moyo’s arrest comes a month after they won a Supreme Court challenge that ordered Zanu PF Secretary for Administration, Dr Obert Mpofu, to vacate the farm after losing an appeal against an earlier order made by the High Court last year.

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  1. Kershelmar Farms, Africa Advice, Retrieved: 12 August 2022
  2. University lecturer who led Esidakeni Farm invasion sued for US$340k, ZimLive, Published: 6 April 2022, Retrieved: 12 August 2022
  3. Esidakeni Farm owners demand compensation, Cite, Published: 23February 2022, Retrieved: 12 August 2022
  4. Esidakeni farm shareholder arrested in latest twist to saga, Cite, Published: 12 August 2022, Retrieved: 12 August 2022