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Cops evict villagers to make way for Zimbabwe's First Lady

Africa
Harare – Human rights groups have condemned police brutality after scores of villagers in northern Zimbabwe had their properties burnt before they were forced out of a farm to make way for a wildlife project by First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Partisan police have driven the members of the community off Arnold Farm in Mazowe.

They have not been provided alternative shelter after being forced off the farm despite President Robert Mugabe’s government endorsing their stay since the height of the land invasions in 2000. Police have defied High Court rulings against the eviction of the 15 families.

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Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe File picture: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

“The fact that the police, who are supposed to uphold the Constitution and the rulings of the courts, are in the forefront of violating them, is a travesty of justice,” said ZimRights.

Zimbabwean police are infamous for partisanship to the Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and tormenting the ruling party’s opponents.

ZimRights however called upon the police and First Lady to respect the Constitution, which expressly outlaws arbitrary eviction of people without a court order.

“The fact that evictions that violate human rights are allegedly being spearheaded by the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, is a serious abrogation of the rule of law, accountability, constitutionalism and democracy in the country.”

The Mugabes, who already own vast tracts of land mostly acquired during violent land seizures, control a business empire called Gushungo Holdings, named after Mugabe’s totem.

Gushungo Holdings has previously evicted small scale miners occupying 22 hectares of land along Mazowe River to pave way for the expansion of the First Family's business interests.

ANA-CAJ

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