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High Court Reserves Judgement on Controversial Maleme Farm Takeover

FILE: Farm workers harvest tobacco leaves.

A Bulawayo High Court judge has reserved judgement in a case where an official in President Robert Mugabe’s office has taken over a farm in Matabeleland South, prejudicing hundreds of villagers who have been benefitting from income generating projects, a school and a church at the farm.

The dispute over the farm started in December when Ronnie Mashingaidze said he had an offer letter to take over Maleme Farm owned by the Cunningham family.

Early this month the dispute took an ugly turn when police descended on the farm and chased away the villagers. Mashingaidze then took over their produce, including chicken which he is allegedly selling at various markets in Bulawayo.

A Christian organization, Ebenezer Trust, which has been facilitating the projects, took the matter to court seeking Mashingaidze’s ejection from the farm.

On Thursday, Justice Nokuthula Moyo reserved her judgement, which she’s expected to hand down within the next two weeks.

We reached Josphat Tshuma, who is representing the Ebenezer Trust and Chief Masuku of Matobo, on Wednesday’s proceedings.

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