Villagers get peace order against army

via Villagers get peace order against army | The Herald August 25, 2015 by George Maponga

A magistrate’s court has granted an application for a peace order by 22 resettled families at Chomufuli Farm in Gutu, Masvingo, who last month dragged the Zimbabwe National Army to court accusing soldiers of encroaching on to their plots.

Solomon Nyashanu and 21 other families resettled under both models A1 and A2 schemes at Chomufuli made an application for a peace order before magistrate Mr Edwin Marecha after members of the army from 4.2 Infantry battalion near Mpandawana Growth point allegedly destroyed their homes and property.

The families, which were represented by Mr Philip Shumba of Mutendi and Shumba Legal Practitioners, also cited Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and the commander of 4.2 Infantry Battalion as respondents in their official capacities.

Mr Marecha granted the peace order after passing a default judgment against the army and Minister Sekeramayi who did not turn up in court to file opposing papers.

He ordered the army to observe peace towards the 22 families legally settled at the farm by the Government under the land reform programme.

In the application, the families said they were legally settled at the farm as evidenced by their possession of certificates of occupation for those allocated model A1 farms and offer letters for those with A2 farms.

They claimed that after staying at Chomufuli Farm since 2002, armed soldiers from the nearby 4:2 Infantry Battalion, clad in army regalia, pounced on them on June 11 this year.

They alleged that the soldiers pulled down some of their houses and set others ablaze, demanding that the families immediately vacate the farm.

The families claimed the soldiers also destroyed crops and razed the perimeter fence around some of their plots, forcing them to flee their homes in fear.

The families said the court was supposed to order Minister Sekeramayi in his official capacity as head of the Ministry of Defence to make sure their lawful occupation of plots at the farm was not disturbed so that they could continue with their farming operations to help the nation attain its Zim-Asset goals.