MUTARE – Manicaland Resident Minister Ellen Gwaradzimba is alleged to have used her political influence to evict 350 families from a piece of land where the affected people have been living for close to three decades.
The families have been living at Zengeni Farm in Penhalonga for more than 30 years and Gwaradzimba used to occupy a portion of the land and is now interested in the whole piece of land.
The piece of land that she used to occupy had nothing, but only dilapidated old infrastructure and it has not been productive.
The villagers are surprised that Gwaradzimba ordered the eviction of the villagers soon after being appointed Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister.
The families recently received eviction notices from the Ministry of Lands to vacate the piece of land.
In a letter from Ministry of Lands in possession of this publication dated 12 March, 2019 directed to headman Onward Zengeni reads:
“You are hereby given seven days notice to vacate Zengeni Farm in Mutasa district in Manicaland province. You are violating section 3 of the gazzeted land Act 20:28…”
The villagers through Headman Zengeni have since written to MDC-Alliance Mutasa South MP Regai Tsunga seeking his intervention.
“We as affected families of Zengeni Village (350 families) and humbly request your urgent assistance concerning our plight. Recently we were issued with eviction papers without the due process of court dated 12 March to March 19, 2019. As the Member of Parliament for this constituency your help will be of great importance,” read part of the letter.
Tsunga described the issue as ‘disheartening.’
“It is disheartening that the villagers are being evicted as some of them have been staying at that land for a long time. We have young children who are going to school who are going to be affected by these evictions,” he said
“l visited the minister (Gwaradzimba) regarding the matter and she was busy with these Cyclone Idai issues but she is aware that l am knocking at her doors,” Tsunga said.
Gwaradzimba’s phone was not reachable.
Gwaradzimba is not new to controversy.
In February this year she is alleged to have influenced the grabbing of Farfell Coffee farm in Chipinge.
Remembrance Gwaradzimba, her son went to FarFell Coffee Estate accompanied by police and armed with an eviction notice issued by the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlements.
The farm is run by retired Swiss banker Richard Le Vieux, a reputable farmer who has been in the business of exporting coffee, avocados and macadamia nuts for the past 30 years.
The matter is before the courts.