Local News

Evicted Villagers Share Experiences after Displacement

VILLAGERS from Matabeleland South province have bemoaned the inhumane treatment they experienced at the hands of the police following their arrest for illegal occupation of State land.

Government has embarked on a blitz to evict “illegal” settlers from State land amid accusations the exercise is meant to benefit a connected and powerful few.

The evictions have been carried out ruthlessly, with critics saying they mirror those conducted on locals by white settlers over a century ago.

Elizabeth Ndlovu (91), from Nyandeni village, said they were detained at a police camp overnight and denied access to food and water.

“I am not feeling well, I am staying with my grandchildren who are taking care of me through proceeds from artisanal mining. We were bundled into a police truck to Gwanda Police Station last week, where I slept on an empty stomach,” Ndlovu narrated.

“We appeared in court the following day, and we were remanded out of custody until February 23. We were called again for a meeting here at Nyandeni business centre by the police, we arrived at 8am and the police came in the afternoon

coming to court on any day. For instance, those arrested from Nyandeni were 180. Managing such a large number at once is challenging.”

Chigova said the affected villagers were from Insindi and Sherborne Farm in West Nicholson.

Acting provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Bongani Mguni declined to comment on the matter.

Last week, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) intervened and stopped the eviction of villagers in Masvingo province who had been ordered to vacate their homesteads after their conviction for illegal occupation of State land.

The villagers’ lawyers Phillip Shumba of ZLHR filed an appeal at Masvingo Magistrates Court seeking to stay their evictions from their land pending the determination of their appeal against conviction and sentence which was filed at Masvingo High Court, ZLHR said in an update.

Magistrate Ivy Jawona granted the villagers application for stay of eviction pending the determination of their appeal at the Masvingo High Court.

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