via Mahofa ropes in military, resolves to eject villagers – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2015 by Tatenda Chitagu
MASVINGO Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa has reportedly ordered 22 villagers settled at Chomfuli Farm on the outskirts of Gutu-Mpandawana Growth Point to vacate their land in favour of a group of soldiers based at 4.2 Infantry Battalion.
This is despite the fact that the villagers recently obtained a court order barring the soldiers from taking over the farm.
The villagers got a court interdict order in June this year after the soldiers allegedly burnt down their homesteads in a bid to drive them away from the farm.But, one of the villagers said two weeks ago Mahofa, who chairs the provincial lands committee, travelled to Gutu and ordered them to move out of the farm by Thursday this week.
“Our fate has been sealed. Mahofa came and we had a meeting here with the lands officials and the army where she said we must go. She accused us of engaging the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, saying we had enlisted an MDC-T-aligned-organisation,” a villager who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
“Despite being in possession of a court order to stop us from being moved, we have been told to leave by October 1. This is in disregard of the courts. Mahofa is in contempt of court and we wonder why she is sacrificing us, yet she spared some white farmers in the province. She is also from Gutu and we did not expect her to behave this way,” she added.
Although Mahofa could not be reached for comment yesterday as her mobile phone was switched off, government officials close to the development confirmed the looming evictions.
The villagers said the move by Mahofa was counter-productive and ultra vires the government policy of land redistribution as espoused in Zanu PF’s economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights spokesperson Kumbirai Mafunda said his organisation would contest the evictions in court.