Nkomos guards threaten sheriff

john_nkomoBULAWAYO -- Armed guards chased off a messenger of court as he attempted to evict a senior government official, John Nkomo, from a farm in Zimbabwes wildlife rich southern region. (Pictured: John Nkomo His guards accused of threatening messenger of court.)

In a letter to the Bulawayo High Court, Deputy Sheriff Peter Thamo Zulu said when he went to Jijima Safari Lodge to serve a court order on Nkomo to vacate the farm four men he found at the farm chased him away at gunpoint.

I Peter Thamo Zulu the deputy sheriff/ messenger of court refer to case HC1391/06 was evicted at gunpoint by Nkomos workers at Jijima lodge, read part of the letter, dated June 15.

It was not immediately clear whether Nkomo, who is also chairman of President Robert Mugabes Zanu (PF) party, was at the property when the incident occurred or whether the men who chased away from the farm acted on orders from the politician.
Nkomo, a minister of state for national reconciliation, was not available for comment on the matter.

The Bulawayo High Court two weeks ago ordered the deputy sheriff to evict Nkomo from Jijima Lodge in the Gwayi River Conservancy to pave way for businessman Langton Masunda, with whom the senior politician had wrangled for years over ownership of the property.

Nkomo last week filed an urgent court application seeking an order to stop his eviction from the lucrative safari farm. The appeal is yet to be heard.
Nkomo about five years ago allocated Jijima Safari Lodge which was seized from a white farmer during the height of Mugabes chaotic land redistribution programme to Masunda five years ago. At that time Nkomo was minister in charge of land reform.
The Zanu (PF) politician later reversed the allocation and tried to grab the farm for himself allegedly after learning of its successful safari operation sparking off the legal dispute with Masunda.

Nkomo, who has lost numerous court challenges against Masunda, argues that the Lodge is his, saying it is within his Lugo Ranch which he allocated himself in 2003.
Masunda however claims the lodge is his, saying it is within the boundary of his Volunteer farms 47, 48 and 49.

The dispute between Nkomo and Masunda over the lodge nearly turned fatal a month ago when the young brother to Masunda was shot five times by security guards employed by Nkomo. The matter is before the courts.

The wrangle over Jijima Lodge only helps to highlight the chaos, violence and thuggery that have characterised Mugabes land reforms he started in 2000.
On paper, the land reforms were to benefit poor black peasant farmers deprived of arable land by former colonial governments but most of the best farms seized from whites ended up in the hands of Mugabes officials, their relatives and friends.

Land reform has led to hunger after Mugabes government failed to provide blacks resettled on former white farms with inputs and skills training to maintain production
Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has also had far reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands of people have lost jobs while the manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is operating below 15 percent of capacity.

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