FORMER ZANU PF provincial boss Dickson Mafios and his half-brother Tichaona Danny Kasukuwere have evicted close to 100 people who were based at the Insingiza Farm in the Mapunda area in Mashonaland Central province.
Bindura District Administrator Richard Chipfuwa told the Zimbabwe Voice on Friday that the farm workers were evicted by the Sheriff of the High Court.
Most of the affected people have resorted to living in the open, saying they had nowhere to go as their forefathers have always been living on the farm since before the land reform programme of the early 2000s.
An affected worker, Gift Sande, told The Herald that the dispute started in 2014 when Saviour Kasukuwere, then a Government Minister, came in to share the farm with his half-brother Mafios. The conditions of service plummeted overnight, said Sande.
“The General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) came to assist us and intervene in 2014,” he said.
“They advised us to stop working if we are not paid for the labour and if we were experiencing poor working conditions.
“The first eviction order came in 2014 and we approached lawyers to get a better understanding of what the law says on labour issues. The issue subdued for all these years only to re-emerge today (yesterday).
“We were surprised when the messenger of court arrived at around 9am serving us with an eviction order and throwing our property outside.
“We don’t have anywhere to go and we have infants and school going children. We started working at this farm in the 1990s before the land reform programme. Mafios took over this farm when we were already here and he later shared the farm with his brother Kasukuwere.”
When Robert Mugabe was toppled in 2017, Kasukuwere fled the country and left his brother Tichaona Danny Kasukuwere in charge together with Mafios, the Zimbabwe Voice was told.
A woman who suffers from a 1970s bullet wound and claimed to be a war collabrator, Victoria Nyaungwe, told Zimbabwe Voice that the Kasukuweres had no right to evict them.
“Kasukuwere and his brothers found us here and have no right to evict us at all. Both my parents died here and left us here, I’m widowed, and I plead with government to help us get past this problem.
“We were left by the white farmers here long back and we grew up on these farms. Some of us collaborated in the liberation war and have nowhere else to go to.”
A farm workers’ leader, identified as Shepherd Masimba, told ZBC News that his fellow co-workers were looking up to him for a solution, but he didn’t have any.
“We were already here when Mafios took over the farm during the land reform programme. I actually showed him around the farm. Efforts to get in touch with him for a way forward were fruitless since he is said to be in South Africa.
“They are coming back tomorrow to evict the remaining farm workers.”
With the onset of the rain season, the affected people will find it difficult to find decent land to start farming and shelter their families from the vagaries of weather.