Former farm worker attacked by ZANU PF in eviction saga

Students at a school in Dunstan farm in Goromonzi. Photograph: Alex Duval Smith in The Guardian

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
4 June 2014

A former farm worker, who is among a group trying to resist their forced eviction from a farm in Goromonzi, was attacked by two ZANU PF youths on Monday evening.

The attack on Weru Phiri is the latest in an unrelenting campaign to evict the former Dunstan Farm workers, who maintain that they have a right to remain on the property.

“Two people came to my house around 7pm on Monday and they started attacking me with sticks and one of them was holding an axe. I tried to fight them off but I was struck in the head with an axe,” Phiri explained on Wednesday.

He was treated in hospital for injuries to his head, including damage to his right ear.

Phiri told SW Radio Africa that he was targeted because the ZANU PF assailants assumed he is a ‘ringleader’ in the resistance to the ongoing eviction process. Phiri said that he was able to identify one of the attackers, who is now in police custody.

Phiri also reported the attack to the Zimbabwe Peace Project, and told the organisation that Headmen Joseph Mironga and Michael Choto have been pushing their evictions for some time now.

“Some of us have nowhere else to go if we are to be chased away,” said Phiri.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court on Wednesday was set to hear the legal challenges by 97 former farm workers, who also face being evicted from two farms in Manicaland and Mashonaland Central.

This includes the case of Eriza Muhala and 50 other former farm workers, who are challenging their eviction from Reuben Clare Farm by the provincial CIO boss Patrick Mukorera, who claimed the property as his in 2010. Mukorera alleges that the farmers are illegally occupying the farm without his consent.

The farm workers, many of whom have been working and living on the property under the former white owner since 1982, argue that their rights are being violated by Mukorera, who wants to evict them without granting them alternative accommodation.

The Constitutional Court was also due to hear the argument of former farm worker Benias Yoramu and 45 others in a similar legal challenge against the State.

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