Zimbabwe: Mazoe Evictees Report Grace to Botswana, SA Embassies | Africatime
Thursday 27 April 2017

Zimbabwe: Mazoe Evictees Report Grace to Botswana, SA Embassies

Zimbabwe: Mazoe Evictees Report Grace to Botswana, SA Embassies
(New Zimbabwe 04/03/17)
Zimbabwe: Mazoe Evictees Report Grace to Botswana, SA Embassies

"We cannot fight the First Family with all the resources at their disposal. They are using armed police and there is nothing much we can do but just to approach the courts and the regional bodies to which the country is a member," said Dube.

Villagers who were evicted from both Arnold and Manzou farms in Mazoe district by First Lady Grace Mugabe have formally reported their plight to Botswana and South African embassies as as SADC.

Botswana is led by President Ian Khama, the only regional leader openly critical of President Mugabe's rule.

The decision to approach regional leaders comes after Grace Mugabe continues to defy court orders stopping her from illegally and forcibly evicting the villagers.

The Arnold farmers were evicted two weeks ago from the land they had been staying in for the last 17 years after they forced a white commercial farmer out.

Officials from the Lands Ministry argue that the land belongs to the First Family and Grace, who wants to expand her projects, needs an additional 1.400 hectares of arable land.

Over 700 people have been affected.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, the secretary of the Arnold Farmers and Residents Association (ARA), Innocent Dube, said apart from using divide and rule tactics the First Family also continues to defy court orders apparently showing that they are above the law and disregard the country's Constitution.

"We have already filed a report at the South African Embassy in Harare and they said they were going to forward it to Swaziland," said Dube.

He added, "We also went to the Botswana Embassy whom we told of our fate and are sympathising with us and honestly speaking they have been very helpful.

"So we are looking forward to get a positive response from the regional body to tell Mugabe to respect the rule of law and the right of Zimbabweans despite of their class."

Dube said as villagers they were powerless as they could not fight the Mugabe family.

"We cannot fight the First Family with all the resources at their disposal. They are using armed police and there is nothing much we can do but just to approach the courts and the regional bodies to which the country is a member," said Dube.

On March 23, the police went to Arnold farm and demolished the farmers' homes. They then bundled villagers into lorries during the night and dumped them along Mvurwi road near Riverside Farm.

It is then that the villagers approached the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who made an urgent court application to stop the evictions but the police refused to comply with the court order.

The police continued to demolish the farmers' homes arguing that they only take orders from the First Lady.

The villagers then filed another urgent chamber application for contempt of court and, again, relief was granted by the High Court.

The land dispute between the farmers and Mugabe's wife has been on-going since 2014 which is when she first attempted to evict them.

At the time, the famers' representatives went to court which ruled that villagers should not be evicted until the government had offered them another place to stay.

The ministry of lands then gave offer letters to the five representatives in what was seen as a way of silencing them.

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