The 150 families told The Zimbabwean that they were not living at Manzou Farm, a game farm formerly owned by a Mr Kenneth, but at Arnold Farm which had nothing to do with wildlife. “The dispute is being presided over by government officials from the comfort of their offices unaware of the situation on the ground.
They must visit the farm to establish the truth. It is unfortunate that the nation and the world are being deliberately misled. We are just innocent and unwanted neighbours to the Manzou Farm. Arnold Farm has never been a preserve for wildlife,” said one of the affected farmers on condition of anonymity.
Some 265 families settled there in 2000 at the behest of top Zanu (PF) politicians who they now accuse of betraying them. At the height of the land invasions they were advised to secure offer letters from the Ministry of Lands as they were ‘entitled’ to occupy the land.
“Lands officers and politicians gradually developed cold feet regarding the regularisation of our settlement, until they avoided us altogether,” said the farmers. The angry families have now called on government to allocate them alternative land or deport them to neighbouring countries.
They said Grace Mugabe’s denials of having anything to do with the dispute were false and alleged that the police and her behaviour showed that she was the major intended beneficiary of the disputed land.
They said the police told them there was no way they would win the battle against the mightiest powers in the land and that Grace had allocated houses on the farm to her workers and sunk a borehole. The evicted families now live in the open with nothing but umbrellas and plastic paper for shelter. They are being represented by Lawyers for Human Rights.
“Plans by the Department of National Parks and Wild Life to move animals into the farm at the expense of human beings are clear violations of the High Court order which stopped the unconstitutional evictions,” said the programmes officer Dzimbabwe Chimbga.
The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai has slammed the state and Mugabe’s wife for displacing innocent villagers, saying “Grace Mugabe has unlawfully and selfishly taken over the entire Mazowe Valley, which is one of the most fertile farming areas in the country.
“The poor peasants have been treated in an inhuman and degrading manner by Grace who is corruptly abusing state power by disobeying a lawful order issued by the High Court.”Post published in: Human Rights