Zanu-PF activists, who invaded the Anglican Church owned Cyrene Farm in Figtree, Matabeleland South province, have been accused of invoking the ruling party’s name to resist eviction.
Anti-riot police had to intervene last Wednesday after the invaders, who were clad in Zanu-PF attire, blocked the deputy sheriff from evicting them and threatened to burn the church’s vehicle.
The invaders have vowed to stay put despite the existence of a High Court order HC2444/03, which prohibits them from occupying the farm.
They claimed that they were given the land by government after it was gazetted for compulsory acquisition in 2014.
“The car they were targeting belongs to the Anglican Church, and I am currently using it. They threatened to kill me. They said they will track me to my home. They are also threatening the bishop,” said an Anglican Church official, who declined to be named.
“Those people were abusing the name of Zanu-PF because when they commit crimes, they come clad in Zanu-PF regalia. They also want to challenge the legality of the court order we were granted to evict them.
“They must not hide behind Zanu-PF when they illegally settle on farms.”
The official said some of the church’s domestic animals were missing after the settlers destroyed perimeter fences and vandalised infrastructure at the farm.
Zanu-PF Matabeleland South chairperson Rabelani Choeni said he was yet to find out if the protestors were bona fide party members.
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu last week appealed to the public to report rogue elements engaging in criminal activities using the ruling party’s name.
“I am also appealing to the police to impound any equipment or vehicles that are used in the name of Zanu-PF without really having to confirm with us. They should impound those vehicles, especially those that are using Zanu-PF stickers,” he said.