200 farmers evicted to make way for Mugabe park

Mail & Guardian

Armed police evicted more than 200 families from a farm in eastern Zimbabwe to create space for a game park proposed by first lady Grace Mugabe.

More than 200 farmers have been evicted in Zimbabwe to make way for a new park project for the Mugabes. (Reuters)
More than 200 farmers have been evicted in Zimbabwe to make way for a new park project for the Mugabes. (Reuters)

Police officers and members of Zimbabwe’s secret service turned up at Anold Farm in Mazowe district, about 50km east of the capital Harare, forcing the residents to leave without notice.

“They … ordered us to leave, but the government did not provide us with alternative land,” said one of the farmers, Aspinas Makufa. “We have nowhere to go and all our belongings will be damaged as the rains keep pounding.”

Non-profit organization Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said it dispatched a team of legal practitioners to Mazowe to help stop the “illegal evictions.”

“We got a High Court order last year that bars anyone from evicting the affected families from their land without offering them alternative pieces of land,” said one of the group’s litigation officers, David Hofisi.

“These evictions are a violation of the court order and we will be filing for contempt of court against the police,” Hofisi added.

Grace Mugabe, who married President Robert Mugabe in 1996, reportedly seized several farms in the past decade, although, under the land reforms act, an individual is not allowed to own more than one. President Mugabe launched a wave of farm seizures from the year 2000 to resettle black farmers on land previously owned by whites.