via Goche farm evictees still stranded by the roadside | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo September 25, 2013
The head of a Zimbabwean human rights group says ZANU PF continues to contradict itself on land ‘reform’, by evicting Zimbabweans from farms owned by party officials.
Rashid Mahiya, of the Heal Zimbabwe Trust, was reacting to reports that more than 15 families, who were evicted a fortnight ago from a farm owned by a ZANU PF cabinet minister, were still stranded by the roadside.
According to an MDC-T official, the families were ejected from Public Service Minister Nicholas Goche’s Ceres Farm in Shamva North, Mashonaland Central.
By Wednesday the families, who include children, were still camped on the side of the Shamva-Harare road, after armed guards forced them off the farm for supporting the MDC-T.
One of the people targeted was Shadreck Sibanda, a losing MDC-T council candidate, who was targeted with an arson attack in the run-up to the elections.
The party’s Mashonaland Central provincial chairman Godfrey Chimombe said most of the evictees were born at the farm and had nowhere else to go. The families are now appealing for help from the public.
Mahiya, whose organisation played a key role in assisting victims of politically motivated violence in the run-up to the recent elections, said fear of intimidation had also forced some workers off farms.
He said it was shocking that the very people who claimed to champion the cause of “land to the people” were forcing other Zimbabweans off the land.
“I think there is a contradiction in saying the land belongs to the people of Zimbabwe and evicting people from the land especially by a government minister.
“The way I see it these evictions go against the values of the land reform programme and that should be dealt with,” Mahiya added.
He urged the displaced families to approach humanitarian organisations and churches for help, but said “this is just only a temporary solution as these organisations can only provide short-term assistance.”
“The responsibility lies with the government to ensure that these people have somewhere to go, or to address its policy on evictions,” Mahiya added.
Goche invaded the farm in 2000 at the start of the fast track land grab campaign. He took over everything including the farm labourers.