Farm evictions: children bear the brunt

Recent farm evictions in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central provinces have exposed the effect that displacement has on children.

It is the children who suffer the most when families are evicted.
It is the children who suffer the most when families are evicted.

More than 55 families were forcibly removed from Old Citrus Farm owned by business mogul, Phillip Chiyangwa. They are currently stranded at Chinhoyi Showgrounds. Children who were attending school at the farm and other nearby schools have been grossly affected.

A humanitarian organisation, Caritas, was barred from providing assistance by the local acting district administrator, Joseph Manyarapasi. They wanted to provide tents, food and other necessities, but were prevented from doing so.

“We have nowhere to go with our children as we were born on the farm and have no other home,” said one of the affected men who has six children.

Meanwhile, the government is set to evict 80 families from Manzou Game Park near Mazoe Dam, in the Mashonalnd Central province. The area has allegedly been earmarked for the development of a multi-million-dollar conservation park by Chinese and South African investors.

The families, who reportedly invaded the game park in 2000, have vowed to stay put.

“With this eviction our families will fall apart. Our children need proper care and protection,” said Rhoda Tunha.

Mashonaland Central Governor, Martin Dinha, said the affected families would be resettled under the government’s A1 small-scale model at four farms in the Mazoe and Concession areas.

Social analysts have said these models have often failed and children tended to be the biggest victims.

“Poverty and income inequality remain stubbornly high and deep-rooted and one wonders how these models will address that as most of them are devoid of proper planning,” said a Catholic priest from the town.

“These evictions will not help Zimbabwe to meet the Millennium Development Goals relating to human development, particularly child growth,” said Bishop Elfas Shangwa of New Hope Foundation Zimbabwe.

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