via Minister Goche evicts 13 families from farm NewsDay by Dumisani Sibanda 17 September 2013
PUBLIC Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Nicholas Goche has reportedly kicked out 13 families, including that of a losing MDC-T council candidate, from his farm in Shamva.
The affected families told NewsDay yesterday that guards at the minister’s Ceres Farm raided their homes on Sunday morning and threw out their property from their houses at the compound. The property was allegedly dumped along the Harare-Shamva Highway.
The evicted families had, however, yesterday carried their belongings back to the compound where they were staying outside their locked homes. They said they were not defying the minister, but just did not have anywhere else to go.
Goche is a Zanu PF politburo member and MP for Shamva North constituency. In an interview at the farm compound yesterday, the losing MDC-T council candidate who contested for Ward 24 in the recent elections, Shadreck Sibanda, said he was told that he was being evicted from the farm because of his affiliation to the MDC-T party.
“Before the guards removed my property from my house on Sunday, they had visited me the previous day (Saturday) at about 4pm, handcuffed me and took me to the farmhouse where minister Goche was waiting for me,” he said.
Sibanda showed the NewsDay crew remains of his kitchen hut and another structure which were set ablaze by suspected Zanu PF youths in the run-up to the recent elections after he had submitted his nomination papers to stand as an MDC-T council candidate in the area.
“That time 15 bags each containing 50 kilogrammes of maize were destroyed by fire. I also lost a lot of groundnuts and a bicycle that was in the hut when it was set on fire.” Sarudzai Marenge, a mother of four, who was also kicked out of her lodgings at the weekend, said she thought the action was politically motivated.
Marenge said as a result of her eviction her two daughters aged 10 and seven could not go to school yesterday.
Two other affected people, Tafireyi Dick and Leeford Kamhara, said they were only ordered to leave, but could not say if the move was politically-motivated as they were not involved in politics.
“The guards only told me that they had been given instructions by Goche to ask me to leave the farm. They took my property and dumped it by the roadside 300 metres away,” said Dick, who said he used to work at Goche’s gold mine on the farm. “I am appealing for assistance to be settled elsewhere.” Kamhara said the guards who were armed with baton sticks handcuffed him as they took his property out of the house he was living in.
“I don’t know why they handcuffed me and later set me free,” he said. “They did not say why we were the only ones being removed, but merely said they were carrying out Goche’s instructions.”
In an interview yesterday, Goche’s farm manager, Paradzai Zulu, confirmed the eviction of the 13 families, but denied the move was politically-motivated.
“The people who are being removed are those who are not employed at the farm,” he said. “The compound was becoming a haven of thieves because of such characters and people would steal elsewhere and come and hide at the compound. Honourable Goche is simply saying I don’t want my name to be soiled because of such people. This has nothing to do with politics at all.”
Efforts to get a comment from Goche yesterday were fruitless as he could not be reached on his mobile phone.