Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Striking farm workers evicted

Striking farm workers evicted

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Chengetayi Zvauya, Parliamentary Editor
Monday, 21 January 2013 11:22
HARARE - Twenty evicted families at Mara Farm in Goromonzi South 
Constituency are being soaked by rains as the police are denying them entry 
into the farm to collect their belongings.

The Daily News visited the farm last Thursday and witnessed the farm-workers 
ordeal.

This reporter saw armed police manning the farm, patrolling the farm 
preventing workers from accessing shelter from the pounding rains.

MDC Member of Parliament for Goromonzi South, Greenbate Zvanyanya Dongo, 
managed to address the workers who are living in the forest which is near 
Mara Farm.

The families, who were evicted last Monday, claim that since Edward Dube 
acquired the farm in 2005, he had been underpaying them.

The evicted workers claimed Dube kicked them out after they demanded their 
dues.

Most of the labourers who are foreigners have no alternative accommodation 
are now surviving on the benevolence of workers from neighbouring farms who 
are assisting them with food and water.

The former workers said they could not access food or water from their 
previous workplace after they were told not to enter the farm.

A court order granted by Justice Hlatshwayo last November ordered the 
workers to vacate the farm.
Some of the workers said they had been working on the farm since 1985 under 
former white farmer Arthur Hale.

Armed police tried to stop the meeting between Dongo and the farm workers 
saying it was an unauthorised meeting but the meeting prevailed after Dongo 
produced his parliamentary identity card.

“I did not know there were armed police officers at the farm, they are 
threatening these defenceless workers. I was approached by the workers to 
help.

“They need food, clothes and tents for their upkeep during this rainy 
season. I am going to seek a meeting with Dube to find out why he has 
evicted these workers during the rainy season without paying them,” said 
Dongo.

Olery Njiri leader of the displaced farm workers related the problems they 
are facing following their evictions from the farm.

“We are having problems of shelter and food as we have not been paid our 
money by Dube. Our children are not going to school. My family was 
threatened last year in May when I asked Dube to pay our salaries, and he 
framed up charges that I had stolen his maize,” said Njiri.

Dube defended the eviction of 20 families from Mara Farm just outside 
Epworth claiming they no longer worked for him and he had obtained a court 
order to kick them out.

Dube, who is into dairy farming, said the families had continued staying at 
his property after he advised them to leave. He also claimed the families 
remained defiant even after he showed them the eviction order.

Dube said the farmer workers were in contempt of a court order.

“These workers should vacate my farm as the High Court ruled. The presence 
of the police is to help me to enforce the court order. They are making a 
lot of allegations trying to defame my character but I am on the right side 
of the law as I am the legal owner of the farm who has terminated their 
working contracts,” said Dube. 

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