HomeNewsGrace Mugabe kicks 200 families out

Grace Mugabe kicks 200 families out

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POLICE yesterday swooped on Manzou Farm in Mazowe and forcibly evicted more than 200 villagers after demolishing their homes, to pave way for the First Lady Grace Mugabe’s planned private wildlife sanctuary project.

everson mushava
CHIEF REPORTER

Some of the affected villagers, who left behind thriving maize crops, said about six truckloads of armed police officers stormed the area in the morning and demolished their pole and dagga houses.

In instances where villagers were not at home, the police allegedly just stormed into their houses and threw out their property, before pulling down the structures.

Two villagers identified as Paradzai Kazingizi and Misheck Matema were forced to flee, as police chased them after they attempted to resist the demolitions.

When our sister paper NewsDay arrived at the farm, hordes of villagers sat pensively besides their belongings pondering their next move, while a thick cloud hovered over the area, as it threatened to rain, further compounding their situation.

“They (police) came this morning (yesterday) and ordered us to remove our belongings from houses,” Canaan Chamboko, a villager said.

“They destroyed the houses using our hoes, axes and their equipment.

“They told us to go where we were before we moved to Manzou Farm way back in 2000.”

The villagers were being ordered out of Spenenken and Anorld farms, which form Manzou Estate.

Some of the villagers claimed that the First Lady wanted to set up a game park, apart from mining gold that was reportedly abundant on the farm.

“The police told us that all the people from Spenenken and Anorld farms should vacate,” Dernboy Chaparadza, another villager, said.

“We did not resist eviction, but they should allocate us alternative land in line with the High Court ruling made last year.”

Last March, police destroyed homes and evicted over 700 villagers from the same farm, allegedly at the instigation of the First Family.

The villagers were later dumped in Rushinga, Lazy and Blagdon farms in Concession before they took legal action and won a High Court reprieve to stay at the property until they had been allocated an alternative piece of land to settle.

Villagers then started trooping back on the strength of the High Court order.

“We voted for Zanu PF, but they treat us like we are nothing,” Chaparadza said.

“They only want us towards elections and dump us after.

“They have destroyed the industry and some of us, although we are professionals, now live on subsistence farming and now they take land away from us, how do they expect us to survive?”

Another villager, Innocent Dube added: “We have elderly relatives and children, what are we going to do with them in the open this rainy season?

“Look, very soon it will be raining and out homes have been destroyed”.

The villagers said the sad thing was that efforts to evict them were always made during the summer cropping season.

“Is that how we should treat each other in an independent Zimbabwe?” a female villager quipped.

The villagers said they had been staying at the farm under the 2006 Rural Land Occupiers Act and efforts to regularise their stay had been hitting a brickwall since they moved in at the height of the land reform in 2000.

Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba and principal director (State Residences) Dzepasi Innocent Tizora, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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