via Evicted villagers take Zimbabwe government to court March 27, 2014 in NewsDay by Everson Mushava
SOME 900 families evicted from Manzou Farm in Mazowe by government and dumped at Lazy 7 Farm near Concession last week, have approached the High Court seeking an order to stop the evictions until after they have harvested their crops.
The families were evicted after they were deemed illegal settlers although they had stayed at the farm since 2000 when they were resettled during the fast-track land reform programme.
Though their lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara, the villagers — most of whom rely on subsistence farming — filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court yesterday.
They also want government to provide them with resettlement land before any eviction could take place.
“We have approached the courts to basically stop who is evicting them to stop doing so now until after the harvesting season is over,” Bhatasara said.
“We know some of the properties have been demolished, but that has to stop. The villagers are not resisting eviction, but they are waiting for offer letters to places that are properly demarcated. According to Section 74 of the Constitution, no person may be evicted from their home or have their home demolished without an order of the court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.”
Some of the villagers were still stuck at Manzou Farm because they either did not have money to hire trucks to ferry their goods or they were still harvesting their
Others have reportedly been dumped in Rushinga, together with Mary Kazunga, a woman who claimed to be a spirit medium of the First Chimurenga war heroine Mbuya Nehanda.
The villagers claimed they were being evicted to pave way for the establishment of a game park by the First Family, but Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha last week said the villagers had illegally settled themselves on a piece of land owned by the government-run Henderson Research Station.
Dinha dismissed reports that President Robert Mugabe’s family was behind the evictions. Some of the families at Lazy 7 Farm along Harare-Mvurwi Road described their evictions as inhuman, adding that their children had since stopped going to school and their household goods and food were drenched by heavy rains last Saturday.
“They dumped us here and promised that the district administrator could come to address us, but no one has come,” an irate Charity Chihowa said yesterday.
“So government now thinks that animals are more important than us? We want land, we voted for Zanu PF because they promised us land. Does it mean we voted for them so that only one person or a few connected can benefit?”
Another victim, Norman Mhembere, said the place they had been dumped at was not good for farming and other villagers who were dumped there two years ago had not been allocated farming land up to now.
“We left our crops. I don’t know how we are going to survive until the 2015 farming season,” Mhembere said.