Police burn down houses

HARARE - Hundreds of families in Banket, Mashonaland West were left homeless after police  allegedly set their houses on fire yesterday, claiming they were illegal settlers.

With the rainy season setting in, the families have been pushed into a desperate situation as police claimed they were illegally settled on a farm owned by a senior police officer.

The top cop is reportedly stationed in Chinhoyi.

Although the families claim they were resettled at the farm located in Mapinga near Banket just before the July 31 harmonised elections, the situation changed soon after the elections as they were ordered to vacate the property.

Mapinga falls under Zvimba North constituency.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the distraught families said they were surprised yesterday when a group of vicious and heavily armed policemen descended on their village and ordered them to take out their properties before they set over a thousand huts on fire.

The police officers, reportedly armed to the teeth, set on fire the pole and dagga huts that had been built.

Charity Charamba, the chief police spokesperson, said she was unaware of the police-led torching as she was off-duty while her two deputies Paul Nyathi and Andrew Phiri’s mobile phones were unreachable.

The villagers said police used high-handed tactics to raze down their properties, and shot at one hut after the owner had resisted taking his property out.

The visibly shaken villagers, some resettled from as far away as Mvurwi and Guruve in Mashonaland Central Province, said they were at a loss of words at what had transpired.

The Daily News crew witnessed some of the houses — constructed in a linear pattern along the railway line towards Mutorashanga — burning, leaving behind a trail of destruction that echoes government’s brutal Operation Murambatsvina — a widely condemned 2005 urban slum clearance drive that left over 700 000 homeless.

The fire also burnt the veld along the Great Dyke range of mountains as scores of families watched helplessly as their homes went up in smoke.

“I came here from Mvurwi some four months ago and I was given this place to settle by the headman,” said 57-year-old widow Arterina Murungisa.

“I don’t know why they are now burning my home leaving me to sleep in the open with the children like this.”

Sitting beside her property which included a bed, a few blankets and some kitchen utensils, Murungisa, who lives with her five school-going children, said she is now stuck as she has nowhere else to go.

Irene Marimba, another villager, said they were told that the farm on which they were settled belongs to a top member of the police force stationed in Chinhoyi.

“We only got the information that we were not supposed to be here yesterday (Monday) and the next thing we saw was the group of police officers in a white vehicle on the rampage burning up every hut along the road,” Marimba said.

“We have not refused to vacate but we do not know where we should go because we had thought that when they gave us this place, we had a place to call home,” narrated Marimba as she wiped away tears.

A woman who initially claimed to be the Zanu PF district  political commissar and later claimed she was a war veteran warned the villagers who were slowly gathering around the Daily News crew not to say anything that would land them in trouble.

She was accompanied by a menacing-looking man.

The villagers later told the Daily News crew that the man was in fact the senior officer who claims to own the farm.

“Who are these people you are talking to?” barked the woman.

“You must mind what you say and if these guys are from the press they must first talk to the Zanu PF leadership here before they talk to you.

“I will be back very soon,” warned the woman before driving off in a white sleek twin cab vehicle.

Eddy Ndirayire, the opposition MDC deputy chairman for Mashonaland West Province, strongly condemned the police action saying they should leave the villagers alone.

“These people are all over the province after they were paid by Zanu PF in its bid to win elections and they did that,” Ndirayire said.

“Now it is inhuman for the police to be found chasing them away in such a manner.”

Comments (16)

i do not care these ARE ZANUPF voters good for them

IDONTCARE - 9 October 2013

Yaah vamama. Vakaudzwa kare kuti vhotayi neungwaru ivo vakati Viza Vanu. Nhasi chii ichochi. You will be resettled in 2018 towards another erection and ejected again soon after. Vanhu vepi vasingadzidzi? Munemashavi enhamo zvokwadi. Garai makadaro.

Kachembere kekwaChivi - 9 October 2013

And we say 'shame shame shame shame to America' when they say those who leave others homeless must not come to America. This cruelity when will it end. makavhotera aniko imi?

Maita Manyuka - 9 October 2013

We are our worst enemies.Its very shameful for prominent people to harass other human beings like that. Anyway that proves beyond reasonable doubt that a leopard will not change its spots.That is typical of Mugabe and his supporters.They do not even care a hoot about the vulnerable and the weak.There are a lot of avenues to amicably resolve any matters but what the Police did is the Zanu pf way- anarchy.

Murove Nyamuchengwa - 9 October 2013

bhora mughedhi mamama maiudzwaka kuti ingomerai sehowa muchifunga kuti Zanu imhenyu next time muchaziva zvekuita ndimi maivhota kafour-four muchiti muchagara papurazi ndokuti mungware!!!

Kurojaimhosva - 9 October 2013

Eheeee, hamusati mamama, muchasvuuka nayo nhamo yezanu, kusweronyengedzwa nezanu yaora iyi, chigarai tione ndimi makavhota, ndimi mava kupisirwa dzimba, stupid idiots. nyaso mamai chaizvo, hamusati pachauya mvura ndopamuchaona hupenzi hwenyu hwese zvimbwasungata zvezanu. Nhasi yakupandukiraika, yeahhhhh, mupfidze kuvhotera chembere.

Makaita - 9 October 2013

l almost shed tears when l read this story, looking at those shaken children who witnessed this brutality from the people's party. Why, why, why, why? Was this caused by "sanctions" imposed on us by the West? God is watching and one thing for sure is that He will punish these heartless people one day. He is for us all and He will not let us suffer like this forever. My advice to the affected families is to look for relatives and stay with them or eish, l cant even offer any help here. God will look after you, he wont forsake you.

ricardo navara - 9 October 2013

Zviri kufamba. Talk of a party WITH THE PEOPLE AT HEART. Tapirirwai. Zimbabwe ndeyeropa.

Sungai - 9 October 2013

Heartbreaking 2 witness children suffering bcoz of the ignorance of their parents.......wat can i say mazvokuda mavanga enyora.....r the so-called vanguards of indigenisation,empowerment knowing this??????????????????hw can u empower a homeless person let alone a widow............BE WARNED.....NEVA PUT UR TRUST IN A POLITICIAN

arlee - 9 October 2013

kuti mupfidze ..heyo bhora mgedhe yenyu..kikikikiii

aaron - 9 October 2013

Ko vana vaparawo mhosva yei.

Haruna - 10 October 2013

Maybe the senior officer is an mdc guy who's chasing away the zanu supporters, at least that's what the zanu party would say, hahaha

Collin - 10 October 2013

Mr. Reporter it seems the picture is only of a single hut why could you not give us more. Home work!

dungas - 10 October 2013

Hapana apo, they are squatters, mdct supporters are now realising that the land issue was a true situation and they were left behinnd, now they just want to build houses anywhere in the name of ZANU PF, bullshit we want orderly settlements chero vari ve zpf, things must be done in an orderly manner. rovai vanhu.

reason - 10 October 2013

Iwe Reason unopenga here? Now your imagination is too far fetched. These are ZANU-PF SHIT LUCIFER supporters and we know what the evil party does come election time. Use people like tissues and flash them down the toilet when you are done. LUCIFER has one an election at all costs and does not give a hoot who gets hurt once he has achieved his objective. SHAME SHAME SHAME ZANU-PF LUCIFER a SHIT party that is morally bankrupt with men and women saving their master LUCIFER and have hearts as cold as stone. Playing GOD with people's lives. Hapana chisingaperi. One day you will stand before your creator and answer for these atrocities. It is not a crime to be poor and it is the poor that are receiving the full wrath of Pharaoh and his Egyptians now the election has come and gone. Pathetic .

vongai - 10 October 2013

its coming big time to many of these guys. you said mdc will give back land to the whites. check zanu do it better than those guys. they will have reasons to do that and it will be fitting. remember they are zanu by night, but mdc by night. the only farms which not be taken back are those of the big guys. you who has been used forget it.

sammy - 10 October 2013

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