HomeLocal NewsBromley ex-farm workers to be evicted today

Bromley ex-farm workers to be evicted today

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OVER 100 families, who last year resisted eviction from Mashonaland Tobacco Graders at Bromley Farm, near Harare, will be chucked out of the farm today to pave way for the rightful owner Samson Chauruka to occupy it.

BY Jairos Saunyama

One of the villagers who used to be employed at the farm told NewsDay yesterday that they had been advised that evictions will occur today.

“We received information that we are going to be evicted on Monday [today],” said the villager. “Initially we were supposed to be evicted yesterday

[Saturday], but they postponed to Monday. We do not have anywhere to go. This is what we had called our home.”

Last year, the villagers, who are Zanu PF supporters and the ex-farm workers clashed with police as they violently resisted eviction to give way for Charuruka to occupy the property.

The clashes that later attracted the anti-riot police saw 15 ex-farm workers who took part in the clashes getting arrested, but this did not deter them from refusing to leave the farm.

Chauruka, owner of the contested piece of land, which is capable of processing 10 tonnes of export tobacco per day if all things are equal, last year tried to engage the villagers but to no avail.

“Chauruka has tried to engage us but we refused and he said that he would come to evict us,” said one of the farm workers who refused to be named.

Yesterday, Chauruka confirmed today’s raid. He, however, said only those who do not want to work for him would be chucked out of the farm.

“It is true that on Monday [today] I am going to Bromley so that I will take over the property. I have all the needed documents to take over the farm. I will be accompanied by police. I am not going to be violent, but I will try to engage the workers through employing them. But those who do not want to be employed I have no choice, they have to leave,” said Chauruka.

According to documents, a white farmer named Lesley Lombard bought the property in 1996 and employed one full-time worker John Chirwa, but the rest were seasonal workers.

In 2006, after an agreement with the white farmer, Chirwa and six others allegedly formed Mashonaland East Tobacco Graders and Contractors.

They were given a lease to operate the grading sheds. The lease expired and Chirwa, instead of paying for the lease, allegedly decided to annex the property under the land reform programme and applied to the Lands ministry, but his application was rejected.

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