FOLLOWING the conclusion of the recent Rural District Council elections, three members of the Movement for Democratic Change have been expelled from the River Ranch irrigation scheme where they have been operating for some years.
y>In the semi-desert conditions of this district, this action has far-reaching consequences for the farmers and their families.
The three farmers were known as some of the best producers on the scheme.
The affected farmers are: Josephine Mkwananzi who stood as the candidate for Ward 6,Sibusisiwe Hove, a polling agent for the MDC in Ward 6, and Rosina Duve, a polling agent for the MDC in Ward 9.
The physical expulsions were carried out by a team sent in by the local Zanu PF leadership and comprised Rabelani Choen, Beauty Mbedzi, Joseph Mleya (elected councillor for Ward 6), Chipo Nyathi (elected councillor for Ward 9) and Senator Tambudzani Mohadi, wife of the Minister of Home Affairs Kembo.
They were supported by a team of Zanu PF youths in a party vehicle. Names are available.
At the end of the operation, the Zanu PF people asked if there were any other MDC people on the scheme, the implication being that if known, they too would be expelled.
This is a typical example of the methods used over the past decade by Zanu PF to intimidate and coerce the rural population into voting for Zanu PF or to allow Zanu PF to operate in these areas unopposed.
The Mohadi family lives in Beitbridge and has extensive commercial interests in the area.
These interests are used to distribute scarce commodities and farm inputs to the local people on a political basis as Mohadi is the local MP.
The MDC is considering what steps to take to protect the interests of its members — including legal action to sue the local leadership of Zanu PF — including the senator, for the families’ loss of income.
However, it is also recognised that if such action were taken, this would expose the families to further retribution including violence.
No protection or assistance from the police can be expected as Mohadi is the minister responsible for the police.
We are also considering an appeal to the local traditional leadership but as these are beneficiaries of largesse from the state including a salary and a vehicle, this is unlikely to yield satisfaction.