Members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) who illegally and forcefully occupied Portwe estate in Mbembesi just outside Bulawayo are refusing to vacate the farm even after the country’s courts explicitly ordered them to move from the land that they illegally occupy.
Report Focus News has it on good authority that this illegal occupation of land by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police has disrupted an initiative to set up a massive wildlife conservancy and historical tourism venture that would benefit the local community, as well as contributing to the revival of tourism and the economy by attracting international tourists.
“The combined farm and safari operation, which is integral to the project and would generate vital foreign currency, continues to be illegally occupied by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) who took it over by force in July 2007.” Said a source from the Mike Campbell Foundation.
“The ongoing occupation by these (ZRP) members is in flagrant disregard of a confirmed court order of September 2007 compelling them to vacate the farm and return it to its lawful owner, Dave Joubert, a high profile Matabeleland farmer of approximately 50 years, and owner of Portwe Estate since 1982.The failure of the government to remove the police from Joubert’s Portwe Estate and Bembesi conservancy demonstrates that Zimbabwe is not “open for business”, as President Mnangagwa claims.”
This visionary project involves Paramount Chief Nhlanhla Felix Ndiweni, whose father, the late Paramount Chief Khayisa Ndiweni, endorsed the initiative, together with the then governor, Welshman Mahbene. Chief Felix Ndiweni has risen rapidly to prominence in Zimbabwe since returning from the UK to take up the hereditary chieftainship. He was sent to London in 1981 to study for a degree in engineering technology and mechanical engineering, and lived in there for more than 20 years. He also has degrees in management studies, specialising in local governance, and law. He is committed to bringing independence and an end to poverty to his people through individual property rights.
Our source went on to say “If the police and the Mnangagwa government continue to defy the law and the Zimbabwe constitution, there will be implications regarding the government’s re-engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the European Union. With the economy in the grips of a meltdown, kilometre-long fuel queues, devastating power cuts and rapidly rising inflation, President Mnangagwa has said that restoring ties with the West and multilateral lenders, including the IMF, is one of his priorities.”
Lamentable before and after photographs show the damage to the Bembesi Lodge after the property was taken over illegally by the police. More photographic evidence also shows the damaged farm equipment, indeed a sad tale of the disrepair and damage to what was once breathtakingly beautiful place.
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