SOME 1 615 families risk being thrown out in the open after a farmer, reported to be a retired member of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, allegedly went on a rampage on Wednesday and destroyed 30 homes at Edinburgh Farm, Skyline, claiming to have taken over the property.
Some of the affected families told NewsDay yesterday that the new owner, identified as Dananai Chikanya, indicated that he wanted to subdivide the farm into residential stands.The peri-urban farm is located in Harare South constituency.
The villagers said together with Chikanya, they invaded the farm in 2002 at the height of the land reform programme and appointed him their lands secretary.
They said trouble started last November when Chikanya stepped up efforts to evict them claiming sole ownership of the property.
The matter allegedly reached boiling point on Wednesday night when a group of 30 armed men in balaclavas raided the farm forcing the families to scurry for cover as Chikanya fired gunshots to scare them away.
Some of the families said they lost over 500 broiler chickens, a generator, solar panels, maize grain, and several other items to the armed men who allegedly threatened to continue with their raids until the farm was deserted.
NewsDay yesterday came across eight police officers who were milling around the farm as the families pondered over their security.
“We are already preparing to go and sleep in the bush because they promised to come back today,” an angry Phineas Dube, a former freedom fighter, said.
Dube said Chikanya, his wife and son were always armed and efforts to report them to the Beatrice Police Station had yielded no results.
The families said Chakanya claimed to be immune to prosecution as he was allegedly connected to top Zanu PF politicians and top cops.
Efforts to get a comment from Chikanya were fruitless as he was said to be away and none of the villagers had his mobile number.