Police crackdown on Zanu PF farm invaders

MASVINGO — About 300 Zanu PF supporters were last Friday left homeless after their structures were allegedly demolished by the police, while several others who resisted eviction were arrested.

Tatenda Chitagu, Own Correspondent

The land invaders accused the new farm owners of being fronts for whites and underutilising their pieces of land.

A visit by Southern Eye to Hungoidza Farm yesterday — about 45km out of Masvingo — revealed a sorry state, as the families had put up temporary structures while sleeping in the open, without proper sanitary facilities.

However, some families with their children missing classes, vowed to stay put, saying they had nowhere to go and insisted they voted Zanu PF resoundingly and could not be treated in such a manner just over a month after the July 31 polls.

“Even if they burn our structures, we are not going anywhere,” Prisca Chikomo, a widow originally from Zaka under Chief Nyakunhuwa, said.

“They even burnt all my belongings when I was away.

“It is better to be shot dead because it is still the same. I have no option. I came here because I had nowhere to till.”

It is understood the families had been on the farm since the beginning of the year.

Chikomo, who had set up a temporary structure with several others, said they had been sleeping in the open since last Friday.

“We are exposed to elements of the weather,” she said, struggling to hold back a flood of tears.

“We are getting water for drinking from the river, while we use the bush as our toilets.

“My child has stopped going to school because I am afraid he will come back and find me displaced or arrested.

“Our livestock was also displaced and we cannot even track our cattle.”

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Peter Zhanero professed ignorance over the matter, saying he was yet to get the details.

“I have no comment at the moment,” he said. “I’m still to get the details and honestly I cannot comment on something which I am not
privy to.”

However, another victim, Kuitei Jerera, displaced from Mukaro Farm, said gun-wielding police officers demolished their structures and they were hapless as they could not do anything except comply.

“I don’t know whether we are still in Zimbabwe,” she said rhetorically.

“They came with guns and ordered us out and dragged our few belongings out.

“I’m old and cannot go to the hilly and rocky area of Bikita.”

Masvingo provincial administrator Felix Chikovo, also the provincial lands committee chairman, recently said the government would conduct a land audit to determine whether beneficiaries of the land reform were utilising the farms.

Chikovo said the farms would also be divided to accommodate about 5 000 people who were on the land waiting list, amid concerns that the province had run out of land for resettlement.

Last week, a number of families were forcibly evicted from a farm in Gokwe, with the farm invaders being charged for trespassing.

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