Eviction of Arnold Farm villagers to pave way for the expansion of First Lady Grace Mugabe’s business empire went a notch up yesterday, with suspected Zanu PF militia guarding the farm where they destroyed the villagers’ vegetable gardens to force them off the property.
By Everson Mushava
A villager who refused to be named for fear of victimisation told the NewsDay that a group of six “Zanu PF youth militia” posted to guard the property visited the villagers’ compound in the morning and uprooted their vegetable plants.
“They destroyed our vegetables. They were uprooting our vegetable and tomato plants, saying the time has come that we should leave the place once and for all,” the villager said.
“They also destroyed the fencing to the garden to allow cattle in to finish off what remained. In total, they destroyed three gardens. They then came to our homes and told us that we have to leave and they are coming up with the final force to get us out if we do not move out on our own.”
Since 2014, villagers at Arnold Farm have had endless running battles with police officers who sometimes burnt and destroyed their houses to force them out for Grace, who reportedly wants to turn the vast farm into a private wildlife animal sanctuary for her family.
The villagers, buoyed by High Court verdict made in their favour, have remained defiant and put on the farm demanding that government secures them alternative land to continue their farming activities.
Efforts by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to stop the evictions have also come to naught.