Two decades after Zimbabwe’s fast tracked land reform program the land question in the former British colony remains unresolved with the natives now being victims of evictions.
Having been put on the forefront by the war veterans during the unceremonious commercial farm invasion campaign natively termed ‘Hondo Yeminda,’ ordinary Zimbabweans at the Hope Farm, a few kilometers south of Kadoma town in Mashonaland West province, as indigenous as they are, are now victims of evictions under unclear circumstances.
Armed with AK47 rifles in the company of the Sheriff of the High Court, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers led by one man villagers identified as Chademana, stormed Hope Farm subjecting villagers to trauma through harassment, property destructions with homes being burnt down.
It remains unclear where the police officers came from and who deployed them on the eviction assignment.
When news of evictions at Hope Farm broke out Tuesday, Nehanda TV paid a visit to the villagers Thursday afternoon and caught up with a 72 year old Musa Glass among other affected families. He narrated how the evictions started on Tuesday morning.
“We were settled here by the government in 2001 and we have offer letters. But we were shocked by this other man called Chademana who came with the police telling us that we’ve been settled here unlawfully and that this was his farm. We told him and the police not to fight us but that they should confront the government because it is the one that settled us here.
“Chademana then told me that he has taken the farm and we should evacuate. They started destroying my property grounding my home with fire.
“He (Chademana) came in the company of 200 police officers who were armed with Ak47 rifles and the Sherriff of High Court. I then asked the police why they have come to fight us but said they were just but protecting the Sherriff.’
“They loaded my property in a truck hastily destroying my furniture inkling my wardrobe. I tried to reason with them not to destroy my property but to no avail. They said they did not care about my property and I just have to evacuate the farm,” Glass said.
Glass, whose wife is in hospital, said he is alone and has nowhere to lay his head and with his advanced age he cannot manage to rebuild a place he would call home.
“I am appealing to anyone who can help. There is nothing I can do now. I am living like an animal. The government should hear my story and do something. I am a pensioner. The money I am getting is not enough even to cover food alone,” he said.
Another woman who identified herself as Sithabeleni Shumba also told her side of the story saying the police at one time unleashed dogs on some villagers who tried to oppose eviction with harassment becoming the order of the day.
“The police came armed with Ak47 rifles and dogs. Some men started blocking the road and dogs were unleashed on them. Houses were set on fire with property being taken out.
“They also opened cattle into our fields and they destroyed crops. They said to us ‘we told you since 2013 that you should stop crop cultivation here but you did not listen,”
Scores of villagers had their property destroyed and dumped in the nearby bush on the other side of the farm stranded with no food and water. Their children are no longer able to proceed with school a set back to their lives.
Nehanda TV could not establish the government’s side as the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Perence Shiri and his deputy Vangeliso Haritatos mobile phones went unanswered.
Zimbabwe violently grabbed its land from the white commercial farmers in the beginning of the new millennium, under the guise of giving back land to the indigenous people and currently the majority of the resettled black farmers are failing to produce desired outcomes leaving the country crawling in poverty and food shortages. Nehanda Radio