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Court Orders Zimbabwe Minister to Vacate Contested Tourist Lodge

A High Court judge in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, has ordered John Nkomo, a minister of state in the office of President Robert Mugabe and chairman of the long-ruling ZANU-PF party, to surrender a tourist lodge he seized in Matabeleland.

Nkomo has been seeking for several years to assume control of Jijima Lodge, a tourist accommodation in Lupane, Matabeleland North province, from a local businessman.

The lodge is near Hwange Game Park, a tourist destination in the western region.

High Court Judge Francis Bere on Tuesday upheld a ruling he made in 2006 when he blocked an attempt by then-Minister of Lands Didymus Mutasa to withdraw an offer letter from Langton Masunda, current owner of the property.

A security officer for Nkomo was arrested last month for allegedly shooting Masunda’s brother at the lodge.

Masunda told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he hopes the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the court sheriff will enforce the order.

VOA was unable to reach Nkomo for comment on the decision.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...