The unfolding tragedy in Mazowe where hundreds of families have been brutalised and thrown out of their homes in the middle of the rainy season made the most depressing news in Zimbabwe last week.
THE ORACLE BY TANGAI CHIPANGURA
Scores of women and children are being forced to sleep in the open for days because of the avaricious nature of leaders in our lawless country.
At the centre of this callousness is the country’s First Lady Grace Mugabe.
She has reportedly ordered the eviction of thousands of people out of Manzou Farm and other surrounding farms where they have lived for the past 15 years.
Truckloads of armed and uniformed state police descended on the farms during the week violently evicting the settlers. They burnt down the grass-thatched pole and dagga dwellings and destroyed the villagers’ property by throwing it out into the rains or by burning it along with the houses for those that resisted or were not at home at the time.
The police were still on the rampage at the farm yesterday. Reports said police beat up those that chose to run away from the sight of this monstrosity or tried to resist the razing down of their homes.
The raging fires, falling walls, clouds of smoke, screams of people under police attack and the wailing of men, women and children watching the destruction of their livelihoods resembled a scene of war.
But Zimbabwe is not at war at all. This was, and still is, an act of the country’s First Lady. Grace owns an orphanage in the area where this evil is taking place. She and her family, including President Robert Mugabe, were out holidaying in the Far East when these women and their children were being thrown out into the cold and rain.
Grace claims her love for children drove her to study cases of child abuse and finding ways to stop it, culminating in her reading for a doctorate in philosophy. She was awarded the degree by her husband the President amid unprecedented outrage and claims of deceit and sham.
She is ‘popularly’ referred to as ‘Amai’ (Mother of the Nation) in Zanu PF circles and is set to be made Minister of Women’s Affairs.
We are told the First Lady wants to put up a private multi-million-dollar wildlife sanctuary on the several farms that she is grabbing.
Grace has said she intends to put up a secondary school, a hospital and a university to be named after her husband in the area. She said the First Family needed to lead by example in the land grab to make it known to the country and the world that the land reform programme is not reversible.
She attacked the local Member of Parliament Fortune Chasi for frustrating her intention to seize land in the area and as a result, the MP, who was deputy Justice minister, was fired from government and appears set to lose the constituency.
Provincial Affairs minister for Mashonaland Central, Martin Dinha, who is responsible for land parceling in the constituency then said he would stop at nothing to ensure the First Lady got as much land as she wanted, “for as long as she requested it”.
Curiously, in the wake of the merciless and grossly inhumane evictions, depicted in heart-rending images of the victims, Dinha sought to exonerate the First Family while saying he had “no apologies to make” for the evictions.
He however confirms the farm is being earmarked for wildlife sanctuary — an enterprise which the First Lady has said she wants to embark on.
“It has nothing to do with the First Family at all,” Dinha said. “This business of abusing the name of the First Lady, her privacy and integrity must come to an end. Zimbabwe is not a banana republic as wished by some people and we have not deteriorated to that level of lawlessness and anarchy.”
The fact however, is there is a High Court order barring the removal of the settlers. So, police action, sanctioned by government, is a clear act of lawlessness.
Victims of the evictions told reporters that there is a lot of gold in the area and that the First Lady is very interested. She is said to have partnered a Chinese mining company in the extraction of the precious stones in the area.
There is a huge outcry in the country over the Mazowe evictions and many people question the role of government in this unlawful act. The police and therefore government brutality against the settlers is an indictment against the acting President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also the minister of Justice.
Court orders are supposed to be enforced by government through the police.
But in this instance, the police are being used by government to defy a High Court order.
What is worse is that the court defiance involves brutality by law enforcement agents being used to break the law.
Acting President Mnangagwa has been seen trying hard to rid himself of the cruelty tag that has hung on him like an albatross, blemishing his image as potential future leader of Zimbabwe.
He has struggled to portray himself not only as a kind, soft-hearted politician, but also as a devout Christian by quoting the Bible at political rallies. His supporters, exposing their little minds, went as far as calling him “Son of Man”.
What then is going through the mind of Mnangagwa as acting Head of State and therefore overall in charge of the police, and as Justice minister, superintending over the rule of law in the country?
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