Thursday, 26 November 2020

EVICTED SETTLERS PELT COPS WITH STONES

A POLICE officer was injured after he was pelted with stones in running battles with 23 resettled farmers resisting eviction from Pumula Farm in Karoi, Mashonaland West province.

Eight settlers were arrested, and police fired shots in the air while enforcing the eviction order. They dumped the families at Chidzuwi Farm along the Karoi-Kariba Highway without cover from the rains that hit the area.

The eight farmers, who hold titles to plots on the farm, were arrested after police, armed batons and in anti-riot gear, burnt to ashes the settlers grass-thatched huts last Thursday.

One Assistant Inspector Paradza and Inspector Chikwenje led a team of riot police officers which carried out the operation.

One of the arrested settlers, Nomore Jakarasi confirmed the arrest, which were effected after they tried to resist eviction.

‘‘It is true that we were arrested following clashes with police. We were fined US$5 each, but personally, I forked out US$300 more after my car was attached,” Jakarasi told NewsDay.

The court order was granted when Lawrence Masanga filed for an eviction order against Willard Nyamukuta and 16 others under case number 9016/05.

Pumula Farm is owned by a United Kingdom-based Masanga under Tagmas Properties and is about 2km out of Karoi town. The court order was issued in 2005, but the settlers ignored it, according to sources.

In 2016, the settlers allegedly rejected an offer by the district lands committee to settle on Trokiadza Farm. The latest execution order was granted by the provincial court in Chinhoyi.

Pinus Nhiwa, who is plot-holder and a war veteran, claimed that the eviction order was a nullity, blaming top politicians for the eviction.

He said: “We were allocated the plots legally in 2002 and we were surprised that Masanga came in 2005 claiming he had bought the farm. A court order was granted against us using a lapsed judgment that we had defended, but was passed in default. Unfortunately, senior government officers have not been on our side as new farmers,” Nhiwa said. Nhiwa said the 23 plot holders and their extended families were left in the open.

ZRP national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police were assisting the deputy sheriff.

“Yes, I can confirm that ZRP is assisting the Deputy Sheriff as per court order and we are doing this to evict illegal settlers,” Nyathi said. Deputy Sheriff Stewart Magudze confirmed that his office was acting as per court order. Newsday

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