Zim First Lady evictees seek SADC intervention – report2017-04-18 09:21
Grace Mugabe. File: AFP
Zimbabwe marks 37 years of independence on Tuesday - but it's not clear if anyone will be really celebrating.
Harare – More than 100 families, who are being evicted from their farm homes by Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe, have urged the Southern African Development Community to intervene, a report on Monday said.
This comes after a News24 report last month said that a court had ruled against the first lady's move to seize the farm, as she sought to expand her empire in the prime farming area of Mazowe.
The High Court ruling upheld an urgent chamber application filed by Mazowe villagers, effectively interdicting the police from evicting them from Arnold Farm at the behest of the president's wife.
The villagers have occupied the property for the past 17 years, courtesy of Mugabe's controversial land reforms.
But it appears that the police were ignoring the court order blocking the evictions, reports New Zimbabwe.com.
Innocent Dube, a representative for the displaced villagers, was quoted as saying that they were now forced to seek remedies from regional body, the SADC, as it seemed local avenues were being undermined by the police.
He, however, stated that they were sent from pillar to post before the regional body, represented by the South African embassy, received their petition.
He said that, due to the lack of Swaziland's consulate in the country, it was not immediately clear who was going to receive their petition.
The Swazi monarch currently holds the rotating regional chairmanship.
"It was not easy for us to hand over our petition to SADC because of the absence of Swaziland's embassy here in Zimbabwe. Initially, we approached the South African embassy which referred us to [the] Botswana embassy, saying Botswana was the SADC secretariat, which again referred us back to the South African embassy, saying that they were the ones representing Swaziland here in Zimbabwe.
"They finally received our petition and took down our contact details before they promised to get back to us," Dube was quoted as saying.
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