via Mazowe evictees accuse police of theft 11/01/2015
TROUBLED Manzou Estate villagers in Mazowe, have accused the police of stealing cash and some of their belongings during ongoing attempts to drive them out of a farm that has been earmarked for a game park by the first family.
The villagers made the allegations in interviews with NewZimbabwe.com Saturday after a handful of their representatives had travelled to Harare to hear the outcome of their current bid to interdict the law enforcement agents from continuing with the demolition of their homes.
Group spokesperson, Willard Mhofu, said police have been moving swiftly to raze down any mushrooming makeshift structures pitched by the villagers overnight to protect themselves and their belongings from the rains and the cold.
“As we are talking, they are demolishing any temporary shelter we would have created for shelter during the night and they go on to immediately burn them,” Mhofu said.
“When they come, the natural instinct for us is obviously to flee for our lives, leaving all our belongings scattered and unattended.
“They would then pocket some of our potable belongings and our dilemma is that we have nowhere to report these cases since police are the very culprits.
“They just pick anything they find which could be in the form of clothing, foodstuffs and cash.”
The demolitions started last Wednesday when six truckloads of police officers from the province were deployed to raze down homes belonging to some 200 families, allegedly at the behest of the First Lady, Grace Mugabe.
The villagers insist the number of affected families remained at 200, contrary to claims in the state media Saturday by provincial governor Martin Dinha who pegged the number at just 48.
Up to 800 families, it is said, could still feel the heat if evictions were to spill into neighbouring farms.
Mazowe district authorities, it has further emerged, have also moved to block an offer by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to donate tents, food and clothing to the villagers who now live in the open.
“We had donors who wanted to assist us with tents, food and clothing most of which we lost during the demolitions, but they were turned away by Concession DA (District Administrator) Mai Nyakudya (Shelter),” Mhofu said.
Meanwhile, the urgent chamber application which was meant for High Court Judge Erica Ndewere’s court Saturday, failed to take off as planned.
Justice Ndewere instructed court administrators to reschedule the hearing to this coming Monday after State lawyers had requested for more time to receive full instructions from their clients.
“The matter has been postponed to Monday to allow the respondents to file their heads of argument,” said Tonderai Bhatasara, of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
“The judge indicated that she would want to determine the matter after proper hearing of both sides of the matter.
“They were supposed to file them at 2pm today but it being a Saturday, they said they could not get the people who were supposed to give them some documents and instructions to enable the lawyer to give them heads of argument.”
The villagers are adamant their stay in a farm seized from its former white owner at the height of the land invasions 2000, had the blessings of Zimbabwean authorities.
Litigation is against the Police Commissioner General, as well as the Ministers of Home Affairs and Lands. All insist the land was never parcelled out for any human habitation.