Police evict settlers from Zimbabwe farms

Police in central Zimbabwe have begun evicting people who settled on former white-owned farms without government permission as part of a countrywide “clean-up” campaign, the Daily Mirror reported on Friday.

Police spokesperson Whisper Bondayi told the privately-run newspaper that the controversial Operation Restore Order, which was launched last month and has made tens of thousands of people homeless, had now spread to farms in the citrus-growing Mazowe district.

“We are in Mazowe where we are removing all illegal settlers at the farms there. I don’t have the actual names of the farms that would be visited but all those who do not have offer letters would be evicted,” he said.

Hundreds of white farmers were evicted at the height of the controversial land reform programme when their farms were taken over by militant war veterans. But there was conflict in some areas when other new black farmers arrived, saying they had official permission to take over the farms.

Meanwhile the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claimed that some war veterans—traditionally strong supporters of President Robert Mugabe—had turned to the party for help after their city shacks and homes were demolished in Operation Restore Order, the Financial Gazette reported.

“I have had a number of them [war veterans] along with other people appealing for assistance after their premises and homes were demolished,” Nelson Chamisa, the MP for the low-income Harare suburb of Kuwadzana, told the paper.

“I have had to cater for sheep without a shepherd,” Chamisa said.

Some rights groups say Operation Restore Order, which until now has affected mainly urban areas, may have made up to one million people homeless.
It has been condemned by the United Nations, the European Union and several Western countries. - Sapa-DPA

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