The Constitutional Court on Wednesday heard two constitutional challenges in which 97 former farm workers are seeking an order to stay their eviction from two farms in Manicaland and Mashonaland Central provinces.
The Constitutional Court’s full bench first heard the case of Eriza Muhala and others versus Patrick T. Mukorera before determining the other case of Benias Yoramu and 45 others versus the State.
Eriza Muhala, together with 50 other former farm workers, who are represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights lawyer Passmore Nyakureba of Maunga, Maanda and Associates legal practitioners, are challenging their eviction from Reuben Clare Farm by the provincial Central Intelligence Organisation boss, Patrick Mukorera.
In seeking to evict the former farm workers, Mukorera alleges that they have been in unlawful occupation since they were staying at Reuben Clare farm without his consent.
But the 52 former farm workers argue that the prospects of being evicted and thrown into the open exposes them to indignity of being at the mercy of the dangerous agents of the weather which include rains, wind, storms, lightning, floods, heat, cold, wild animals, reptiles and crawling creatures.
Civic groups are concerned by the unrelenting forced eviction threats targeting former farm workers around the country.
Commenting, Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) director Jestina Mukoko said her organization continues to record cases of arbitrary evictions and threats of evictions in the three Mashonaland provinces, mainly targeting former farm workers.
The ZPP said one, Weru Phiri of Goromonzi South in Mashonaland East, was seriously injured after being attacked by alleged Zanu PF supporters at Dunstan Farm on Monday evening.
Phiri sustained a cut in the head and his right ear was seriously damaged during the clashes with two Zanu PF youths pushing for the eviction of former farm workers from Dunstan Farm.
He said the farm workers have been resisting eviction threats for years now and have engaged the ZLHR for assistance.
“It is really sad that these farm workers are being pushed out of the farms that they have known as home since birth,” said Mukoko.
"And there seems to be a trend around the country that the new farmers are pushing the farm workers out and one wonders where they want them to go.”
Zimbabwe lawyers for human rights spokesman Kumbirai Mafunda says the number of farm workers seeking recourse in the courts is on the rise as they have nowhere else to go.