Siphosami Malunga

Siphosami Malunga is a Zimbabwean human rights activist and the executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).

Background

He is the son of the late PF Zapu stalwart and national hero, Sydney Malunga.

Education

Malunga has degrees from the University of Zimbabwe and the University of Oslo.[1]

Career

Siphosami Malunga is the executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA). Previously, he held various positions in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), including as Senior Governance Advisor, Democratic Governance Practice Team Leader, and Regional Policy Advisor–Governance. Between January 2001 and July 2003, Malunga was in Timor Leste as Trial Attorney in the Special Panel for Serious Crimes, where he was trained in transitional justice through trials of civilian, military and political leaders for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and violations of the laws and customs of war. In November 2003, he moved to Afghanistan to become UNDP Programme Manager on the Rebuilding the Justice System of Afghanistan Programme. In 2007 he became the governance and conflict advisor at the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre. He has published extensively in the public media, particularly around democracy and governance.[1]

Siezure of Farm

On 14 June 2021, Malunga's son Siphosami said the Lands Ministry notified him that they are coming on 15 June 2021 to take a privately owned farm, peg it and give it to people they have allocated it to. The farm is co-owned by Malunga with businessman, Charles Moyo, and Zephaniah Dhlamini, a scientist working at the National University of Science and Technology.[2]

The Herald reported that reports Government had repossessed a farm co-owned by Malunga and his two partners were false. The report stated that the farm was compulsorily acquired by Government under the Land Reform Programme in 2004 from a white farmer.

The report further stated that Malunga and his partners later bought a shadowy company that claimed to own the farm but did not have exclusive ownership of the land in question since it had been acquired by the Government almost two decades before.

Matabeleland North Province Minister of State Richard Moyo said when Government compulsorily acquired land in the 2000s it did not immediately resettle people because there was a black man by the name Eddie Warambwa who claimed to have bought the farm from the white man identified as Swindells. Moyo said it was only after Warambwa's death that Government realised that he was a front for the white man and measures were taken to repossess the land. Moyo denied Government was victimizing Malunga and his business partners.

The report by The Herald further stated that Malunga and his business partners were using only 30 hectares out of the 500ha and at some point during land inspection, they submitted the sale of shares document which was however deemed fraudulent as it was not signed.

Further, sources close to Malunga and his business partners told the publication that the trio could also not apply to Government because one of them has a farm in Bubi measuring 1600ha which he benefited from the Land Reform programme.[3]

However, The NewsHawks in an article dated 19 June 2021, The NewsHawks said its investigations showed that the government story was misleading and untrue. The facts: the farm was not designated by government, let alone acquired. By its own admission, the government believed it was owned by Waramba, a black farmer, hence it was not taken.

Information gathered by the publication showed that the farm was owned by a white farmer Jeffrey Swindells through Kershelmar (Pvt) Ltd. Swindells then rented it out to Waramba as a going dairy concern, but retained land ownership.

Waramba ran the dairy project, which he had acquired from Swindells, without buying the farm itself. Besides thinking that it was owned by Waramba, the other reason government did not take over the farm is that it was a dairy project. Dairy farms were spared from compulsory acquisition. Malunga and his co-owners traced the owner, negotiated with him and then bought Kershelmar and its properties, including the farm. That is why the Deeds and Companies registry reflects Malunga, Dhlamini and Moyo ownership of the farm.[4]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Siphosami Malunga, African Transition Justice Hub, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: June 15, 2021
  2. Mnangagwa Govt Seizing Private Farm Owned by Late National Hero Sydney Malunga's Son, 2 Other Blacks, VOA, Published: June 14, 2021, Retrieved: June 15, 2021
  3. Malunga farm grab claims false, The Herald, Published: June 15, 2021, Retrieved: June 15, 2021
  4. Owen Gagare, CIO big shot behind Malunga farm grab, The NewsHawks, Published: June 19, 2021, Retrieved: June 21, 2021