Former Farm Workers Stranded And Living In Squalor

Despite the chilly weather that hit the southern parts of the country recently, the communal farmers-among them a young woman with a one week old baby- are living by the roadside.

They were evicted from Godden Farm, after their homes were torched by Bhota Chitumba with the help of the police, and dumped at the site.

The 40 families had invaded the formerly white owned farm at the height of the land reform programme in the year 2000, but were evicted by the new black owner.

They have since erected temporary plastic shacks along the highway.

A health time bomb is looming as they are using the bush toilet. They are also using the place as a market to sell ground and round nuts and livestock in a bid to raise money to travel to their respective rural homes.

But others said they have nowhere to go as they had destroyed their former homes.

“He told us that the farm is no longer white-owned after claiming to have bought it. We have nowhere to go. My husband and I had destroyed our former homes in Bikita, where we came from. All our parents are late, and we have few relatives,” said Agnes Chiropa (23) who was holding her baby.

Chitumba maintained that the families had invaded the farm when he had bought it from the former owner, Irvine Godden.

“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I bought the farm from the former white owner a week before they invaded it. And I continuously told them to start saving money and look for somewhere else way before, but they refused. I actually gave them the grace period to harvest their crops,” Chitumba said.

Masvingo Provincial Governor, Titus Maluleke, said he was going to do something about the families.

“We have to do something for the families…they cannot continue to live by the roadside….they had invaded the farm before it changed ownership, but we are also going to investigate if Chitumba is not being used as a front by Godden,” Maluleke said.

Godden is now living in Masvingo town after he quit farming.