A Zimbabwean court is reportedly set to hear how soldiers recently fired gunshots and teargas at farmers who resisted eviction to make way for the establishment of an army base near Domboshawa, one of the country’s prime farming areas.
According to Daily News, the soldiers ran amok as they invaded the farms.
In their court papers, the affected farmers wanted the court to declare the establishment of a military base in that area illegal and invalid.
This was not the first time that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) was accused of grabbing land for its own use, said the report.
Early this month, a major mining firm – RioZim Limited sued Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri after two military linked companies’ grabbed one of its mines.
Safety of civilians
Muchinguri-Kashiri was accused of unilaterality declaring a portion of the mining company in Darwendale area a military zone.
According to NewsDay, in her responding papers to the latest case, Muchinguri-Kashiri defended the move by the the army to declare Elphida Farm a cantonment area. She argued that it was in the “interest and safety of the civilians that such a declaration was made”.
She also said that the Lichfield Willesden Farm was declared a cantonment area under section 6 of Statutory Instrument (SI) 93 of 2006 (Defence (Cantonments) Notice, 2006, by her predecessor, to ensure the country maintained its national security and protected civilians.
She said the area was in close proximity with the Zimbabwe Defence Manufacturing Industry (ZDMI), where explosives were made and tested, and as result, there was a risk of accidental discharge that could put lives at high risk.