An 84-year-old MDC Alliance official in Mashonaland East Province has reportedly been ordered to vacate a 70-hectare plot by officers from the Ministry of Lands even though he is in possession of an offer letter.
Obert Rukato of Plot 10, Ward 20, area 52 in Chikomba West told Masvingo Mirror he was allocated the piece of land in 2006.
But on Tuesday last week, Rukato was visited by officials from the Land Ministry who told him to vacate the land. The plot for which he has an offer letter is allegedly being given to Serina Chagonda.
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The officials allegedly told him that he was being evicted because he was too old and can no longer manage the farm.
The heartbroken Rukato said he is an old man, has nowhere to go and the eviction was going to finish him off and his family. He said:
I am in a state of shock after officials from the Ministry entered my plot and ordered me to wind up operations and leave the farm. I am 84 years old. Where do I go, where do I put my family?
If they say they are taking away my piece of land because I am old, I will tell them that I have children and grandchildren who can also use this land. I have an offer letter for the piece of land issued in 2006
I was also involved in the liberation struggle which brought about this land. They cannot chase me away because I support MDC.
I am appealing for help from those who can assist me so that my family is spared this looming disaster. We don’t have anywhere to go.
I will visit the Lands office in Marondera to find out what is going on. I have a number of projects on the plot including drilling a borehole.
Asked for comment, Mash East Provincial Lands Officer Steward Blessing Musimwa said he was not aware of the case.
This is bizarre since there is a programme where Government is downsizing under-utilised farms and allocating them to new farmers. Said Musimwa:
I am not aware of the issue but I will look into it. However, these cases should not be treated as politically motivated.
We are doing an assessment to identify underutilised farms through the downsizing programme.
Chagonda said she was allocated the same piece of land recently, adding that she was not aware that there was someone already residing on it.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance Mashonaland East provincial chairman Chengetai Murowa said there is a lot of victimisation of opposition members towards the 2023 elections. He said violence has also gone up in the province.