via Armed police evict 70 families despite promise of homes for votes | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda
A community of more than 70 families is reported to be homeless following a raid last week by armed police, who evicted them all after eight years and razed some of their huts to the ground.
According to The Standard newspaper, the families occupied Farm 27 in Chemagora district of the Midlands province, after an election-time promise of land that was made by Robert Mugabe eight years ago.
The traditional headman, Webster Madobi, and his villagers said they voted ZANU PF back into power in the July 31st elections, only for all to be evicted from their homes last week without any place to go. They had been allowed to clear the land themselves themselves many years ago and felt settled.
The Standard said they feel betrayed because despite the promises made and the length of time they have occupied the land, the farm owner Farai Magadzire accused them of living on his land illegally just after the elections, and was granted an eviction order by a magistrate in Kwekwe.
Headman Madobi, who is among those who were evicted, is quoted as saying: “We feel used because these politicians came here soliciting for our votes and even had a polling station on this farm but now we are being evicted,” he said.
The paper also quoted John Fire Gumbo, a 72 year old who is among the evicted, as saying: “We voted for ZANU PF because they made a promise that everyone should have access to land but now we are being thrown out and forced to stay in the open like animals.”
We were unable to contact the victims directly for comment on Monday, but an MDC-T official from the surrounding area confirmed the evictions. But he told SW Radio Africa that he could not yet comment on the case for fear of jeopardising a legal case that is being initiated.
According to The Standard the villagers had blocked police from evicting them the first time, but “armed police then returned and arrested 24 of the settlers, who have since appeared in court, facing trespass and contempt of court charges”.
The arrested 24 were each fined $100 by magistrate Taurai Manwere last week, after being found guilty of trespassing and building illegal structures.
Post election evictions of MDC-T supporters have been reported countrywide since the disputed claim of a landslide victory by ZANU PF.
Areas that did not vote ZANU PF by wide margins also appear to be targeted for evictions, or some form of punitive action, by ZANU PF agents, who include the police, chiefs, district leaders and ordinary party members, who all act with impunity.