via Govt ‘blocks’ aid to Mazowe villagers – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 14, 2015
DONORS willing to assist stranded villagers at Arnold Farm in Mazowe, which is reportedly being targeted by First Lady Grace Mugabe, are facing challenges in extending humanitarian aid, NewsDay has learnt.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
About 150 villagers were said to be living under inhumane conditions at Arnold Farm following the illegal demolitions of their houses by the police early this year.
Grace has been linked to a number of farms in Mazowe as she expands her empire and had allegedly ordered those currently occupying the properties to leave.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has since written to the Mazowe district administrator registering the plight faced by the affected people at Arnold Farm and also difficulties donors were having in their efforts to offer humanitarian aid.
“The destruction of their properties and crops by the police left them exposed to elements of the weather as they were left without shelter,” ZLHR said in the letter dated April 22.
“Women, the elderly, disabled and children were and are still exposed to hazardous diseases like cholera and influenza. Many have been treated of various diseases which are being caused by the inhumane state of affairs at this farm.”
The affected people have no access to clean water and ablution facilities after their structures were destroyed during the demolitions.
“On the 14th of April 2015, the residents of Arnold Farm through their erstwhile lawyers Messrs Musendekwa & Mtisi Legal Practitioners wrote a letter to yourself highlighting that prospective donors were finding it difficult or rather impossible to offer humanitarian aid to our clients either because your office has ignored or simply refused to grant them authority to assist the said community in need,” added the letter.
According to the Constitution, the State must adopt reasonable policies and measures, within the limits of the resources available to it to ensure that children have shelter and basic nutrition, health care and social services.
It further states that they must be protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse, something which ZLHR said was currently prevailing at Arnold Farm. When channelling aid, donors should be cleared first by authorities who include the government and local government institutions like the district administrators’ offices.