Villagers left homeless after attacks in Mash West

MHANGURA Forty three families have been rendered homeless following a wave of attacks in Mashonaland West Province in Mhangura over the last two weeks in what is suspected to be a politically motivated aggravation on the villagers.

The villagers from Gambuli Farm now known as Masveta Village are now staying in the mountains after they have been subjected to a series of attacks on their homes by well known Zanu (PF) supporters who are alleged to be moving in the company of uniformed police officers.

Some of the villagers now spend their days in the mountains and only come back to the village to sleep in the roofless huts. Only two homesteads belonging to Zanu (PF) supporters were spared.

A well known Zanu (PF) supporter and headman from the nearby farm known as Mesmar has been reported to be moving around the farms in the company of police officers and a group of the partys youth league demanding offer letters from villagers. Failure to produce the offer letters has resulted in the villagers houses being razed to ground while others burn the thatched roofs of the huts.

In a Murambatsvina-style destruction that has left many villagers shocked, the group at times asks the victims to destroy their own houses. Some of the houses have been left with only walls while others have been razed to the ground level.

The initial attacks were witnessed during the first week of this month when it is alleged Headman Chambati, his secretary who was only identified as Mate, 2 police officers, 3 prison officers and a group of youths visited the village and ordered all the villagers without offer letters to leave the farm.

Some of the affected villagers said they were forced to destroy their properties and those who tried to resist the move were severely beaten up including the headman of the village only identified as Manhenga.

The police officers allegedly fired gunshots in the air to threaten the villagers, according to the villagers who are now traumatized following the attacks.

Some people have moved in with their relatives in other villages while some sold their beasts at $100 each and left the area out of desperation. The villagers said their farming season has been greatly affected by the forced evictions as others had tobacco seedlings which were ready for transplanting.

The children of the victims are not attending school as it is located at Mesmar for fear of victimisation. The situation has reportedly spread to other farms such as Mtunzi, Baruka, and Chess.

The villagers moved to stay on the farms at the height of the farm invasions in 2000 led by war veterans and Zanu (PF) officials.

The violations were reported at Chemagamba Rural Police Station in Chinhoyi but no one has been arrested.

Meanwhile war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda has returned to Masvingo Province and continued with his campaign rallies in Chiredzi on Thursday, December 18, 2010.

Sibanda addressed a meeting at Chiredzi Primary School where he harassed and threatened the people into supporting Zanu (PF). He warned the villagers that if Zanu (PF) loses in the next elections there will be more violence than that which was experienced in 2008.

The war veterans leader was in Bikita and Zaka during the month of October where he held several meetings in the company of local traditional leaders urging villagers to support only Zanu (PF).

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