Mombeshora signed a letter ordering the eviction of Tafireyi, the son of ZNLWVA secretary general Victor Matemadanda from the ranch in November last year, but the letter was inexplicably not served on him, according to correspondence seen by this newspaper.
Pavloma, a cattle ranch in Kwekwe, is protected under a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement signed between Zimbabwe and Austria in November 2000.
Austrian national Stephan Weinberger — a permanent resident in Zimbabwe since 1999 — was evicted from the property last year, prompting a diplomatic protest from the European country.
Cde Mahiya claimed in The Daily News last week that Mphoko was “stooping so low, to the extent of fighting a war veteran’s son to settle a political score”.
In an intemperate outburst, he added: “How does a whole Vice President come down to deal with an issue that should be resolved by the Lands minister? Why is the minister himself not raising the same questions that he (Mphoko) is raising?
“It’s clear that he (Mphoko) is fighting this war on behalf of (Zanu-PF national political commissar Saviour) Kasukuwere.
“He’s also not happy that we passed a vote of no confidence in him after he said statements that we viewed as tribal while he was addressing a rally in Chiweshe.
“That proved to us that he’s G40 and we’ll stop at nothing to ensure that we destroy such people. We’re going to continue telling the people what he’s doing to destroy Zanu-PF and our legacy.”
But letters seen by The Chronicle suggest that it was in fact Mombeshora who signed a letter withdrawing Tafireyi’s offer letter for the ranch on November 16, 2015 — exactly two months before Austrian President Heinz Fischer, in a meeting with Mphoko, raised concerns over the occupation. The purported vote of no confidence in the VP by a faction of the war veterans was passed in March, four months after Mombeshora started the process to evict Tafireyi.
The latest push to restore Weinberger to the farm comes after the Austrian embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, sent a Verbal Note — a letter of protest — to Zimbabwe in April requesting “urgent assistance from the competent Zimbabwean authorities towards securing the property rights of the Austrian national in question”.
The embassy added: “The said property has been occupied since 2015 by ‘war veterans’ without a court order, formal eviction notice nor proper compensation. The occupation therefore has to be considered illegal.”
The Austrians, in their protest sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed the Zimbabweans to a January 22, 2016, meeting between Mphoko and Fischer, during which the VP “assured the Austrian Federal President that the problem of the occupation will be solved swiftly.”
On April 13, last month, Foreign Affairs secretary Joey Bimha wrote to Thabani Ndlovu, the secretary in Vice President Mphoko’s office, attaching the Verbal Note and requesting “any assistance your office may provide to resolve this matter at the soonest.”
Ndlovu, letters seen by The Chronicle confirm, wrote to the Lands and Rural Resettlement ministry two days later, attaching the correspondence from the Austrians and Foreign Affairs asking them to “urgently attend to this problem and inform us as well as Foreign Affairs of the outcome so that the ambassador of Austria (Brigitte Oppinger-Walchshofer) can be informed of its resolution.”
Grace Mutandiro, the secretary for Lands, in a letter dated April 27, wrote to the Vice President’s office clarifying the situation over Pavloma, stating: “Honourable Dr DT Mombeshora signed the letter withdrawing the offer of the farm from Mr TL Matemadanda on 16 November 2015. I had, however, been informed that the letter was yet to be served on Mr Matemadanda and this most unacceptable development had not been communicated to my office.
“I’ve given instructions that the withdrawal letter be served forthwith with the assistance of the National Land Inspectorate.”
It emerged, from the correspondence, that Tafireyi had demanded $10,200 from Weinberger in February 2016 which he said was for “continued and escalating costs that he continues to incur in keeping and taking care of your livestock”.
Wrote Mutandiro: “Regarding the cattle illegally taken from Mr Weinberger and the alleged extortion attempts, the matter should be addressed following the due process of law.”
Tafireyi has since been served with an eviction notice by the Lands ministry after being given time to wind up his activities on the farm.
LANDS and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora ordered the eviction of Tafireyi Matemadanda from Pavloma Ranch and Conservancy in the Midlands province, and not Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko as claimed by Cde Douglas Mahiya, the spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), The Chronicle can reveal.