Although the chief has denied targetting MDC supporters in the exercise, the victims told Radio VOP that the chief together with District Administrator Felix Zimombe and believed to be backed by Zanu PF party, had issued out eviction letters, saying they wanted to de-congest the area.
Part of the letter reads; “Due to water shortages, we have decided to trim Fuve-Panganai scheme so that all the four irrigation schemes can have equal access to water.”
The deadline for the affected villagers to leave is Saturday, March 27.
Fuve-Panganai irrigation scheme was established in 2008 and has 100 inhabitants. It was the fourth to be established after other
irrigation schemes, section B (1988), C (1990) and section D in 1993.
“While it may be or may not be true, our question is, Why MDC supporters, why not Zanu PF, Mavambo or UPP supporters? We are just being punished for our political affiliations,” a villager told Radio VOP.
He added that the chief spared some villagers who were earmarked for eviction saying, “‘they qualified to remain behind”.
Zimombe confirmed the evictions. “We were just looking at those who are not productive, we do not target opposition supporters, but if that is the criteria used, probably ask the chief, I only got names, I do not even know their political affiliations.”
Chief Nhema however distanced himself from the decision when asked to comment, saying he was working with the committee in Fuve Irrigation Scheme.
“The names were forwarded to me by the committees in the scheme, I am not the one who came up with the list,” he said.
Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister, Titus Maluleke, could not be contacted for comment as he was said to be out of town. His mobile was unreachable.
Tsvangirai recently told Masvingo MDC supporters to stop fighting with Zanu PF supporters, saying this was no longer necessary as him and Mugabe had a good relationship.
Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe recently agreed to a package of measures, which are yet to be spelt out, aimed at fulfilling the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The two leaders together with Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the other MDC faction, signedthe GPA last year, leading to the establishement of the unity government last February.
The measures were agreed to after President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, came to Zimbabwe to review the progress of the GPA talks that had reached a deadlock due to disagreements in resolving the oustanding issues.
The package of measures is likely to be unveiled end of the month when all outstanding issues are expected to be finalised.