CHIVHU – The MDC A in Mash East is in shock after officers from the Ministry of Lands allegedly approached an 84-year-old member of the party and ordered him to vacate a 70-hectare plot he was allocated in 2006.
Obert Rukato of Plot 10, Ward 20, area 52 in Chikomba West confirmed to The Mirror the visit by the officials on Tuesday last week. The plot for which Rukato has an offer letter is allegedly being given to Serina Chagonda.
The officials allegedly told him that he was being evicted because he was too old and can no longer manage the farm. They told him to leave as the farm is now being given to Chagonda.
Rukato pleaded with The Mirror that he is an old man, has nowhere to go and the eviction was going to finish him off and his family.
Asked for comment, Mash East Provincial Lands Officer Steward Blessing Musimwa said he was not aware of the case although there is a programme where the Government is downsizing underutilized farms and allocating them to new farmers.
He said that this might be the case with the farm and insisted that the programme is not done on partisan lines.
“I am not aware of the issue but I will look into it. However, these cases should not be treated as politically motivated.
“We are doing an assessment to identify underutilised farms through the downsizing programme,” said Musimwa.
Chagonda said she was allocated the same piece of land this recently adding that she was not aware that there was someone already residing on it.
“I was allocated the plot last month but the officers of the lands Ministry told me that there was no one residing on it. I also have the papers which they issued me,” she said.
MDC-A Mash East provincial chairman Chengetai Murowa said there is a lot of victimisation of opposition members towards the 2023 elections. He said violence has also gone up in Mash East.
“The land does not belong to Zanu-PF, it belongs to us all and using land to terrorise opposition party supporters is not only illegal but is a serious violation of people’s rights and the supreme law of the land,” said Murowa.
He said the safety and security of MDC A supporters in Mash East is increasingly getting fragile.
“I am in a state of shock after officials from the Ministry entered my plot and ordered me to wind up operations and leave the farm. I am 84 years old. Where do I go, where do I put my family?
If they say they are taking away my piece of land because I am old, I will tell them that I have children and grandchildren who can also use this land. I have an offer letter for the piece of land issued in 2006
“I was also involved in the liberation struggle which brought about this land. They cannot chase me away because I support MDC.
“I am appealing for help from those who can assist me so that my family is spared this looming disaster. We don’t have anywhere to go
“I will visit the Lands office in Marondera to find out what is going on. I have a number of projects on the plot including drilling a borehole,” said Rukato