Chihuri, Mohadi Face Imprisonment Over House Demolitions

Harare, January 11, 2015 – Some peeved Mazowe families have moved to

block the ongoing demolition and eviction of their houses by seeking
the arrest and imprisonment of the country’s top police commander on
charges of defying a court order.
The five Mazowe families are part of 200 people whose homes were
demolished by police officers early this week to pave way for the
construction of a wildlife sanctuary which is linked to President
Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace.

The five families whose dwellings were recently demolished by police
officers petitioned the High Court on Friday seeking an order for the
arrest and imprisonment of Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri for disobeying a lawful
court order.
The five Mazowe families whose houses were demolished by armed police
officers who stormed Anold Farm in Mazowe on Wednesday in a ruthless
eviction that saw the villagers’ personal possessions being burnt
filed a court application for contempt of court against Mohadi,
Chihuri and Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora.
The villagers who include Aspinas Makufa, Daaisi Musekiwa, George
Musa, Costa Chirimba, and Gift Chikowore charged that the government
officials were unquestionably guilty of contempt of court after
intentionally disobeying a court order by demolishing their homes and
attempting to evict them from Anold Farm in Mazowe from which they
have been conducting farming operations for more than a decade.
In an application filed in the High Court by their lawyers Tonderai
Bhatasara of Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys and Gift Mtisi of Musendekwa
Mtisi Legal Practitioners, who are all members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights, the lawyers want the High Court to order Mohadi, Chihuri
and Mombeshora to stop government officials, agents, police officers
or anyone acting on their instructions from demolishing and evicting
the villagers from Anold Farm.
The lawyers said should Mohadi, Chihuri and Mombeshora fail to stop
government agents from ending the harassment of the villagers, the
Sheriff of Zimbabwe must procure several Zimbabwe Republic Police
officers to arrest the Home Affairs Minister, the ZRP boss and the
Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister and imprison them at Harare
Central Prison until such a time they purge their contempt.
According to the Mazowe families, Mohadi, Chihuri and Mombeshora’s
conduct is reprehensible and a risk to the administration of justice
while the deliberate disobedience of a court order by public officials
undermines the authority and integrity of the judiciary.
The villagers said they are now exposed to the vagaries of weather
conditions with their crops and source of livelihood being razed to
the ground at a time when their children are scheduled to start
attending school lessons next week.
The applicants argued that since the granting of the court order in
August 2014 interdicting and stopping respondents from demolishing
homes and evicting them, police officers ceased to destroy their
property. But the law enforcement agents recently resumed the house
demolitions inspite of a court order granted by High Court Judge
Justice Charles Hungwe in August 2014 interdicting the respondents
from interfering with the Mazowe villagers’ farming activities on
Anold Farm until they have been legally relocated to other lands with
valid offer letters.
Meanwhile, six other families from Anold Farm in Mazowe also filed an
urgent chamber application on Friday in the High Court seeking an
order interdicting Mohadi, Chihuri and Mombeshora from demolishing
their houses and property or evicting them from the Mazowe farm.