BY OBEY MANAYITI
Settlers at a farm in Mazowe, once claimed by former first lady Grace Mugabe, say there are fresh moves to remove them from the property, a few years after they won the right to remain at their homes.
The villagers at Manzou Farm accused Mashonaland Central Provincial minister Monica Mavhunga of orchestrating the renewed bid to evict them.
They said people claiming to be government officials last week gave them seven days to leave their homes.
“There are some people who came here on Thursday driving a vehicle with government number plates warning us to leave the farm in seven days,” said one of the villagers.
“However, they are failing to understand that even if we are to move out, we still have crops in the fields and we have since built some permanent structures.”
The villagers said they refused to sign eviction orders brought by the unnamed officials.
“This is our home and we are not going anywhere. We took over the farm from a white farmer named Arnold sometime back,” another villager said.
“Police tried to evict us in 2015, but it didn’t work although they destroyed our properties and crops.
“We thought after the removal of (former president Robert) Mugabe things would work in our favour, but we were wrong.
“It will be unfair to remove many of us here and replace everyone with one senior official. It is unfair and it will not work.”
For several years, the villagers were locked in a bitter ownership wrangle with the former first family over the farm.
At one point, they went for years without proper shelter after police razed down their homes.
Mavhunga said she did not know anything about the planned evictions.
“The villagers are the ones who can best explain their situation,” she said. “They must go to the offices to seek help.”
The government has been evicting scores of people that occupied commercial farms at the height of the controversial land reform programme 19 years ago.