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Church condemns heartless evictions

THE government has taken a leaf from the colonial regime which prevented landless blacks from accessing productive land, a fellowship of Christian churches has said.

In a statement, Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) said the land issue was being politicised.

ZCC was responding to the mass eviction of villagers from State land which they were occupying illegally.

The government operation, which has since been suspended following a public outcry, has left victims homeless with others having been dragged to court.

“The legal framework being used for these evictions originates from the colonial era when the colonial government prevented the local people from owning land. The same laws cannot be applied to the very same people who fought for independence,” ZCC said.

“ZCC condemns these mass land evictions and destruction of people’s property that have left thousands of Zimbabweans homeless and made dispossessed Zimbabwearns even more vulnerable.”

The clergy said the evictions were ruthless.

“In some areas, the settlers have had their infrastructure demolished by local municipal authorities, despite following resettling procedures.”

“The land question ranked highest among the grievances that motivated indigenous black people to launch the Second Chimurenga to free the country from colonial occupation.

“The people of Zimbabwe fought diligently and determinedly against the colonial regime in anticipation that they would get land for settlement.”

ZCC also questioned whether the evictions were being carried out in line with Section 74 of the Constitution which protects citizens against arbitrary eviction and emphasized the requirement for court orders.

ZCC said the evictions lacked transparency.

“However, brutal evictions have been enforced at a time after the 2023 elections.”

“It is appalling to note that the same political leaders who were voted into power are not proactively assisting their constituencies affected by these land evictions and destruction of property.”

ZCC said a government-led humanitarian response programme should be activated to assist the victims with psycho-social support and temporary shelter.

“Preservation of human dignity should always be considered when such programmes are being designed and implemented.”

NewsDay

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