Families left homeless as major-general marches in

More than 350 villagers, allocated plots by the government in Matutu conservancy in 2000, were evicted last week to make way for Major General Engelbert Rugeje, the Zimbabwe National Army chief of staff.

Matutu conservancy sits on 11,000 hectares of land.

Sources in the lowveld said Rugeje, Tongaat Hullets’ managing director Stanely Mutsambiwa and 19 others with strong ties to Zanu (PF) teamed up and decided to evict the 354 villagers using a High Court order.

The affected families are living in the open near Checheche Business Centre.

MP for Chiredzi North Petros Mkwena has asked them to stay where they are while he tries to help them out.

Mkwena said he had approached Douglas Mombeshora, the minster of lands and resettlement, and the Masvingo Lands Committee in a bid to get the families back to the conservancy.

He said he was hoping the families would be given 3,300 hectares to subsist while the Zanu (PF) chiefs creamed off the remainder.

“They are living in the open, with nowhere else to go. Some left their livestock in the conservancy too,” said Mkwena. “I have approached some organisations to provide these people with food, with the hope that the families will be back on their land before December 1.”

Sources said police used force during the eviction, killing several dogs owned by the villagers. Repeated efforts to get a comment from Rugeje proved fruitless. See article on page five for more on this story.

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