via Police accused of torching families’ homes | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo on Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Scores of families in Banket, Mashonaland West, are now homeless after police allegedly torched their homes and evicted them from a farm on Tuesday.
According to a report in the Daily News newspaper on Wednesday, the police claimed the families were illegally settled on the farm owned by a Chinhoyi senior police officer.
The families told the newspaper that they were resettled at the farm in Mapinga, near Banket, just before the July 31st elections, with some coming from the Mashonaland Central areas of Mvurwi and Guruve.
However on Tuesday, armed officers are said to have descended on the farm and ordered them to take out their property before they set over a thousand huts on fire.
The villagers also claimed that the police shot at one hut after the owner had resisted taking his property out. It is also reported that the fire spread into the Great Dyke mountain range, as affected “families watched helplessly.”
An MDC-T official in the province, Eddy Ndirayire, condemned the evictions, which he termed “inhumane”.
Nixon Nyikadzino, programme manager at Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said this was an act of arson perpetrated by the police.
“But what it proves is that the land reform programme itself was never genuine and was never meant to serve the interests of the majority of Zimbabweans.
“Secondly, this also shows that people are being used by ZANU PF to achieve its own ends. It demonstrates how insincere this party is and it is unfortunate that they have used and hoodwinked poor people in this way,” Nyikadzino said.
“Most importantly, it now proves beyond doubt that the July 31st election outcome was manipulated through a multiplicity of ways, including such relocation of people to boost votes for ZANU PF in some areas.
“This is clear abuse of people and now that the ZANU PF rigging project has been a success and the party is in power, they are discarding these people and who left their homes on the promise of pieces of land,” Nyikadzino added.