Villagers in Penhalonga are up in arms with Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba whom they accuse of using her political muscle to try to evict them from the land where they have been living for decades.
The 350 families live at Zengeni farm in Mutasa district which is reportedly being coveted by the Minister.
Gwaradzimba reportedly intends to extend her farm boundary to incorporate the land occupied by the 350 families. In a letter written to Mutasa South MP Regai Tsunga pleading for his intervention, the villages said:
We as affected families of Zengeni village (350 families) humbly request your urgent assistance concerning our plight as mentioned above.
Our main concern is our chieftainship of which we have always applied to our district administrator, Ministry of Lands and to the provincial administrator to no avail.
Recently we were issued with eviction papers without the due process of a court . . . As the Member of Parliament for this constituency, your help will be of great importance.
… This is not a laughing or political matter. We are aware that there are some few individuals who did not come today because they are saying that it’s a political matter.
Minister Gwaradzimba wants to extend her farm. There is one man called Mahachi who is also eyeing to grab the land. We have been told that we are likely to be evicted to Nyamukwakwa village near Honde Valley and the Mozambican border.
Meanwhile, Tsunga met Gwarazimba where he made supplication on behalf of the villagers. He expressed hope that the Minister would be considerate towards the Zengeni villagers.
Newsday has a copy of the letter from the Ministry of Lands dated March 12, 2019, directed to headman Zengeni.
The letter gave the villagers seven days to vacate Zengeni Farm claiming they were violating the Gazetted Land Act.