Evicted ex-farm workers drenched in rain

SCORES of families living in the open at a farm outside Marondera are bearing the brunt of heavy rains, with bureaucracy being blamed for failure by both government and well-wishers to come to their assistance.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

About 40 families were dumped outside the farm, popularly known as KwaStovhoro, by the Messenger of Court a fortnight ago after losing a court battle to stay at the farm.

The families were former workers at the farm whose white owner left the country at the height of the land reform programme.

Some have secured alternative accommodation, but 25 families are still living in makeshift structures.

Ward 11 councillor Saizi Vilela said he had secured tents from the Red Cross International, but the organisation is yet to deliver them, reportedly due to red tape.

“We approached the Red Cross and they came forward to assist with tents, among other goods. However, there is politics and protocol that is hindering the handover of aid. The victims are still there and there is need for aid,” he said.

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The victims are living near Rufaro Dam, a major water source for Marondera, where they are no proper ablution facilities, creating a health time bomb, given the onset of the rains.

Marondera Central legislator Caston Matewo yesterday visited the victims and said he would take the matter to the Local Government ministry. “It is terrible that we have evicted people who are now squatters. There are also children at the squatter camp, and I will take the matter up to the Local Government ministry so that they get assistance,” Matewo said.

Last year, the ex-farm workers were evicted before government intervened, resulting in them returning to the farm. However, government failed to relocate them, leading to the recent evictions.

Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Aplonia Munzverengi yesterday said government was aware of the families’ predicament.

“I am aware of the ex-farm workers’ predicament, but the truth is that we have no land at our disposal for possible relocation. It is noble for the farm workers to relocate to their rural or communal areas if possible. We will try by all means to address the situation, but we need land,” she said.

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