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Zanu-PF militia evicts 100 Chiredzi families

by Staff reporter
24 Jul 2020 at 08:09hrs | Views
OVER 100 families in Gutsaruzhinji C, ward 23 in Chiredzi North have been sleeping in the open since July 10 after a Zanu-PF militia razed down their homes in a bid to evict them from the area.

The villagers, mainly of the Johanne Marange sect, are currently sleeping in the open along a dusty road leading to Mkwasine Estates and surviving on sugarcane after their forced relocation.

Just like Uzumba, Maramba and-PFungwe, Chiredzi North is the ruling party's stronghold which saw Royi Bhilah (Zanu-PF) winning with 35 893 votes, while Joseph Chiturumani (National Patriotic Front) got 1 291 votes and Faith Machiva of Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity got a paltry 635 votes.

The MDC Alliance did not field a candidate for parliamentary elections in the area.

Farai Makese, the chairperson of Gutsaruzhinji C area, told NewsDay that they were shocked to be evicted after staying in the area since 2008 without incident.

"We first settled here on February 3, 2008 and we were immediately registered as voters. Zanu-PF has been winning ever since. Now this new MP Bhilah is saying he can win without us. He openly told us at our last meeting that it is only President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is worried about our votes, not him," Makese said.

"We bought this land from other villagers although it is State land. Now they are claiming that the land is reserved for their children. We thought it is State land, and were supposed to be removed properly if the government no longer wants us here."

Most of the villagers said they were left nursing injuries and lost livestock, vehicles, kitchen utensils and other valuable property after their houses were razed down by their tormentors.

The victims' irrigated winter wheat, maize and sugar beans were either slashed or fed to cattle.

Another villager, Eria Marwei, said they were shocked by the MP's utterances denouncing the ruling party and Mnangagwa.

"All along, we never knew we were brought here to boost Zanu-PF votes until Bhilah told us openly that we had played our part and Zanu-PF no longer needed our services.

"He even brought overzealous youths singing revolutionary songs who, in the process of burning our belongings including blankets, accidentally threw a one-year-old baby wrapped in the blankets into the fire. Luckily, he was quickly rescued, but not without fire burns," Marwei said.

"They were so violent and boasting that only desperate Mnangagwa can sympathise with us because he cannot garner enough votes to defeat the opposition."

Contacted for comment, Bhilah curtly said: "I don't talk to independent media."

Zanu-PF provincial spokesperson for Masvingo, Ronald Ndava, said they were deeply shocked by the incident.

"We are deeply concerned with such kind of behaviour and we are definitely going to take action. How can an elected MP utter such words about his party and President? I don't know where he is getting it from, but Zanu-PF does not treat its supporters that way," Ndava said.

"Right now, it's cold and the President declared that everyone should be home between 6pm and 6am as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19, but they are burning down houses. As the provincial executive, we are going to assess the situation and appropriate action will be taken."

District lands officer Honest Mapfumo said he could not comment on the issue because the villagers were settled illegally.

"I cannot comment on that as a lands officer because those families settled out there after personal agreements with other villagers. The agreements were outside government," Mapfumo said.

District development co-ordinator for Chiredzi, Lovemore Chisema, who is the chairperson of the district lands committee and the chairperson of the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) said he was aware of the land dispute and ordered the police to investigate and arrest the perpetrators.

"I am very much aware of the situation and I have instructed the police to arrest anyone who broke the law. On the other hand, I am told the situation is so dire that as DCP, we are going there to see what assistance we can offer," he said.

Source - newsday