THE owner of Mananje Conservancy in Beitbridge, Ian Ferguson, has yet again reached out to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa after being subjected to racist threats and physical assault by invaders.
Ferguson, who has since been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue due to the endless harassment, has failed to have an audience with Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora.
This was revealed in Ferguson’s letter to Mombeshora. The letter was sent through his personal assistant Morris Dakarai.
The 17 500-hectare conservancy, bought by Ferguson in 1985 after government indicated it had no interest in acquiring the land, has been invaded four times since 2000 with the most recent being in October 2013.
“Since the visit by the National Land Committee led by the Ministry of Lands deputy director Mr Dendere, the illegal occupants of the conservancy have become extremely hostile and in fact physically aggressive,” Ferguson wrote in the letter dated February 2 2017.
He insisted that the committee had visited the conservancy to intimidate him rather than to establish what was happening on the ground as had been communicated to him by Dakarai.
“You told me over the phone that the committee had been taken down to check on the ground what the situation was, which from their behaviour couldn’t have been further from the truth,” Ferguson wrote.
“When the committee eventually arrived at 5.45pm after declining a conducted tour of the conservancy to check the situation on the ground, the deputy director Mr Dendere’s attitude as well as the chairman and senior police officers from Harare was unpleasantly hostile. If the object was to intimidate me I have to disappoint them as it will take more than the likes of Dendere to intimidate me”.
Ferguson said he was physically and verbally abused by the invaders on January 29 this year.
“One Elephas Siziba who is the provincial officer in Gwanda for Youth Sport and his two sons Confident Siziba who apparently is employed in Mutare, and Confidence Siziba (17-year-old) as well as one Mbulugeni Ndlovu with 14 or so others to bolster up their numbers as they always do arrived at the safari camp where I was at the time,” he wrote.
“Elephas was screaming and shouting at me and tried to punch me in the face, when my manager Elliot Shoko grabbed his arm and pulled him away. Then his son, who works in Mutare, started yelling ‘white man, go back to Australia as no white man should be in Africa’.
“He then grabbed me by the arm and started pulling me around and when I pulled my arm away he rolled up his it sleeve and he said did I want to see how a black man will smash a white man’s face in. The other illegal settler Mbulugeni threatened me as well saying no white is entitled to occupy land in Africa.”
Ferguson said he reported the incident to the police the next day but was in fact interrogated from 8:30am to 3pm. Siziba had made a report earlier. Ferguson also complained that an illegal settler, Sobala Sibanda, had told his son that he must not be surprised if his father disappears never to be found again.
He said the ominous threat was made in the presence of his lawyer.
Ferguson added that he has since given up meeting with Mombeshora after seeking in vain to arrange it in the last eight months.
He revealed he had arranged to meet Mnangagwa who has agreed.