Monday, 19 October 2020

GOVT BLOCKS FOOD AID TO EVICTED FAMILIES

Chipinge District Development Coordinator (DDC) William Mashava has been accused of barring donors from giving food aid to 52 families evicted from Daff Joubert’s Annex Farm in Ward 11 Chipinge that now living in the open at Chiriga Business Centre.

The 362 evictees got their houses burnt by Police some three weeks ago and they have endured rains and the frequently chilly Chipinge weather.

The families accused Mashava of addressing them and ordering them not to receive any aid from donors. He allegedly told them that they were painting a bad picture of Government by allowing donors to come and dole out food aid to them.

He also allegedly ordered the evicted families not to speak to the Press. Mashava however, vehemently denied the allegations. He said that he was never approached by anyone intending to donate goods to the evicted families and even if there he was, he has no final say on the matter.

“I have never been approached by any donor in connection with the evicted families and even if they had, I don’t have the final say. The final say is with authorities above me,” said Mashava.

They also accused Mashava of instructing the evictees many of who have identity cards that show that they come from Mash Wes to go back to their original places. The Minister of State for Manicaland Ellen Gwaradzimba said she no longer speaks to Chipinge Times because the newspaper has been writing negative stories on rampant land wrangles and evictions taking place in the district.

“We are not allowed to take anything from well wishers. The DCC came a few days ago and ordered us not entertain anyone who comes to assist us or to enquire about our situation.

“Chipinge East Opposition MP Mathias Muyambo came and gave each person two cups of rice.

However, the DDC fumed when he heard about this. He came and told us that the MP’s gesture and indeed that of any other donor paint negative picture of Government internationally.

“Hanzi ignore vanouya vachinyora (ignore journalists because it paints our government in a negative way),” said one of the evictees who declined to be named for fear of victimization. After being evicted from Daff Joubert’s Annex Farm, the families were dumped in a bush and later moved to Chiriga Business Center because they felt it was safer than the bush.

The families are living at Chiriga without clean water, food and blankets. They lost their blankets when Police set fire on their dwellings.

Zanu PF Chipinge commissar Ketai Chandaengerwa described the situation at the camp as deplorable and urged President Mnangagwa to intervene. She said that independence becomes meaningless if the country has people living under such conditions.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Senior Programmes and Communications and Information Officer Kumbirai Mafunda urged authorities to treat citizens humanely and with dignity.

The DaffJoubert’s Annex Farm evictions are just one of the many that are brewing in Chipinge. Last month 750 people from Munyokovere were threatened with evictions and it took Prof Lovemore Madhuku, a lawyer and politician to intervene and keep Government at bay a little bit. 

Last week Prof Madhuku pledged to assist the Daff Joubert’s Annex Farm evictees with legal service so that they can go back to the farm. Madhuku has since approached the courts for papers of the case so that he can make an appeal.

A local governance practitioner Allan Murozvi said the wave of arbitrary evictions in the district have created serious social crisis. This has led to marginalisation of hundreds of people and affected progressive realisations of community rights to clean safe water, health, shelter and human dignity among others.

Murozvi blamed the problem on Government officials who continue to privatise land for self gain. He said such privatisation by Government officials at local level is worrisome and a serious violation of fundamental rights of the community. Masvingo Mirror

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