YESTERDAY, we ran a story on how at least 3 000 families under Chief Misheck Njelele in Gokwe were left homeless after being evicted from their illegal settlements in Chemagora, Sikombela, Bhadha and Sibusiso, by armed soldiers and police.
The report made sad reading, but in the same breath, demonstrated the need for ordinary people to refuse to be used by those that hold the levers of power for political expediency.
The villagers were reportedly settled in the areas by Chief Njelele and Zanu PF politicians during the 2008, 2013 and 2018 election periods, showing that at that time, they served the purpose to ensure the continuity of Zanu PF in power, but now that the elections are over and done with, they are being kicked out of the land like dogs.
This confirms what many have said; that since 2000, Zanu PF has been using land as a carrot to lure potential voters who they would eventually give a raw deal.
Sadly, the land on which they were settled, totalling 54 000 hectares, was largely reserved for forestry — a major foreign currency earner. Ironically the very same State institutions that have kept Zanu PF in power — the Zimbabwe National Army and Zimbabwe Republic Police — are the ones used to demolish property belonging to the suddenly “illegal” settlers.
It is hard to imagine that after being ordered to vacate the land, they were not even given the opportunity to harvest their crops — which would have provided them with food security — and are now no more than squatters along the Gokwe-Kwekwe Highway.
Such painful experiences, which have become a pattern over the years, should awaken political party supporters to the reality that they must think through whatever “trinkets” they are offered by political parties and the accompanying legal consequences. A time will definitely come when they will have to give an account, as has happened in this case.
It is no use for the villagers to blame Zanu PF politicians and Chief Njelele for using them as pawns and cannon fodder during elections because they should have read through such a scheme right from the beginning.
Politicians will always be the same and often act in the same manner. They are just out to push and protect their interests rather than those of the ordinary person, who is no more than just a pawn in their political game.
It doesn’t matter how long you stay on the land; as long as the resettlement was not done in the spirit and letter of the law, one day you will be kicked out of that land.
People should be wary about haphazard resettlements spearheaded by politicians, especially in unserviced areas. They definitely would be setting themselves up for a fall.