FORMER Speaker of the National Assembly Amusa Mwanamwambwa has denied claims by Pioneer Safari Lodge Limited and another that he has restricted entry and exit access to their properties through an access road which is through his retirement house.

The former Speaker has submitted before the Lusaka High Court that to prevent crime in the area and to save his wild animals, he put a fence around his farm and installed three gates, among them was Pioneer Gate, which he created at his cost.

Mwanamwambwa added that the truth of the matter was that Pioneer Safari Lodge and Chriss Christian Wienand did not want to employ a guard to man the Pioneer Gate because they wanted to save money as they allegedly told him that they did not budget for the expenses or costs of manning the said gate.

In this matter, Pioneer Safari Lodge Limited and Wienand have sued Mwanamwambwa in the Lusaka High Court for allegedly restricting and limiting access to their properties.

They are seeking, among others, a declaration that they were entitled to a right of way from their properties through the access road, as well as damages for inconvenience, loss of quiet enjoyment and loss of business.

Pioneer Safari Lodge and Wienand, who have also sued the Attorney General, explained that an access road to and from their properties was through the former Speaker’s retirement house which was built for him by the State.

But in his affidavit in opposition to the affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for an order of interim injunction filed in the Lusaka High Court recently, Mwanamwambwa explained that in the late 1980s, his wife, Catherine and him acquired Farm No.380a in Palabana area, then part of Lusaka District.

He added that upon his retirement in 2011, a portion of land was subdivided from Farm 380a and ceded to the State for the specific purpose of building his retirement house, as per his statutory conditions of service.

“The portion in question is now Subdivision No.1 of Farm No. 380a,” Mwanamwambwa explained.

He stated that there was no omission or negligence on the part of the State to include a road on his gate, as there had never been a road cutting across his land to the plaintiff’s land even before the subject land was ceded to the State to build his retirement house.

Mwanamwambwa stated that he took occupation of the retirement house in 2015, further explaining that he was passionate about, and supports, tourism because for several years in public and political service, he ran tourism in Zambia.

He stated that as such, he had set up a game ranch on his farm and that among the animals he was keeping were eland, Impalas, Duikers and Clawless Otters.

Mwanamwambwa stated that on two occasions, poachers entered his land and killed six Impalas, and that dogs from outside also entered the ranch and killed his Duikers.

He stated further that there was crime in the area, adding that in 2015, a white lady who lived in the neighbourhood was raped by trespassers and criminals.

Mwanamwambwa stated that on another occasion, criminals trespassed on his farm and attempted to gang rape a girl who was employed to cook for the Chinese who were building his retirement house.

He stated that the plaintiffs were aware of the general crime in the area and the poaching of his animals in that the carcass of one of the animals poached from the game ranch was found in the premises of the Pioneer Safari Lodge.

“To prevent crime in the area and to save my wild animals, I put a fence around my farm and installed three gates. Among them is Pioneer Gate, which I created at my cost without any contribution from the plaintiffs, their guests and families. That is why I named the gate after the lodge. The Meanwood gate and the Twatasha gates are too far from the plaintiffs as they are located on the Western part of my farm while the plaintiffs’ said land is located on the Eastern part of my land,” Mwanamwambwa stated.

He stated that it was not true that he had restricted entry and exit access to Pioneer Safari Lodge, adding that the plaintiffs kept insisting that Meanwood and Twatasha gates be left open for their convenient use, without due consideration to the security of his family, property and wild animals on his farm land.

In their statement of claim, Pioneer Safari Lodge had stated that it was the Legal owner of property No. Subdivision 9 of Subdivision W of Farm No. 380a, while Wienand was the Legal owner of Subdivision 10 of subdivision W of farm 380a.

The plaintiffs further stated that Mwanamwambwa was the former Speaker and the Legal owner of Subdivision C1 of Farm 380a which was ceded to the Zambian State to build the retirement house for the former Speaker of the National Assembly.

They stated that on unknown dates, Mwanamwambwa placed gates at every entry point to their properties and restricted access thereto by restricting timing of entry by placing sign posts.

The plaintiffs stated that the restricted times had infringed on their freedom of movement from their properties through an access road and had caused hardships to their businesses they were running on their properties, including Pioneer Safari Lodge’s business of Tourism, lodging and restaurant facilities.