Black on black land war intensifies

HARARE - Some of the Zanu PF shock troopers who led a violent takeover of white-owned commercial farms in 2000 under the guise of land reform are now singing the blues after government ordered their eviction.

At least five families out of the 44 that occupied Stonehurst Farm in Mashonaland West’s Zvimba East constituency are scrambling after Norton Magistrate Judith Tirivangani last week confirmed their eviction.

Stonehurst Farm has now been allocated to one Barbra Chimbadzo, who is in possession of an offer letter from government. The evicted families say the plot has become dirty, arguing they were used as foot soldiers to drive out white farmers only to be kicked out themselves.

The order comes a month after the Lands ministry issued the families with notices of eviction, which they ignored.

The February 14, 2013, eviction notice to Wellington Chimuti, Bernard Chakaipa, Freddy Sato, Steward Mawurukira and John Malaika warned of criminal charges if the original farm invaders failed to move.

“You are hereby instructed to vacate the farmhouse you are occupying in subdivision 3 of Stonehurst farm immediately. The property you are occupying belongs to Mrs B Chimbadzo who is the bona fide plot holder.

Several notices for you to vacate the farm have been given to you which you fail to respect. This notice from this office will be left with no option but to seek prosecution.”

This is despite the fact that the ministry of Lands had issued the four with offer letters and Chimuti, whose late father was declared a district hero, says he was even appointed the farm caretaker in 2005.

Chimuti, who is also Zanu PF secretary for security in Sally Mugabe District, told the Daily News that like the other families, his future hung in the balance as he has nowhere else to go.

“We are shocked at the sudden turn of events because we have offer letters,” he said.

“We are the ones who invaded this farm in 2000 but since the death of my father who was declared a hero by the State, things have changed dramatically. They do not care about us any more as they are now concerned with empowering their relatives. Where was Chimbadzo when we participated in the third Chimurenga (often violent invasions of white-owned farms),” queried Chimuti.

The eviction order has set the ministry and war veterans on a collision course.

Zvimba district war veterans’ chairperson one M Changadzo on February 23, 2013 wrote to the district lands officer expressing disappointment at the “failure to recognise, let alone support dependants of deceased comrades who participated in the third Chimurenga.”

“We request your good office to take corrective measures to stop harassing, persecuting and threatening families of our deceased gallant fighters,” reads the letter, a copy which is in our possession. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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