Dozens of banana farmers and villagers in Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani district have filed an urgent High Court appeal to block their eviction by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks).
During the past weeks, several villagers have been arrested by the police, while ZimParks has threatened to demolish their homes and crops.
About 223 banana farmers were set to lose their farms. Lawyers Maunga Maanda and Associates were instructed by the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) to file an urgent application at the High Court in Mutare to stop the evictions.
Willie Mafuta, who is the first applicant, said in his affidavit that ZimParks and its agents were arbitrarily arresting villagers in violation of the Constitution, as they did not have an eviction order issued by the courts.
"I can confirm that the first respondent (ZimParks), through its agents, are threatening to evict us from the Chikware and Mapembere villages. The threats are real as arrests have already been made and they are coming to our areas heavily armed," he said. “Should the respondent not be stopped from unlawful evictions, a total of 223 people stand to be affected as they will be left homeless with no source of income or food."