HUNDREDS of villagers at Arnold Farm in Mazowe yesterday stormed former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s property to celebrate her husband’s downfall, whom they accused of brutalising and turning them into paupers in a quest to expand her family empire.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Former President Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, sparking jubilation among citizens all over the country.
Mazowe villagers, who for years have been at loggerheads with the Mugabes over the disputed Arnold Farm, said they wanted to show their gratitude to all those who had made it possible to remove Mugabe.
For hours, some placard-waving villagers sang and danced to revolutionary songs while others denigrated Mugabe’s “greediness” and picketed at Grace’s Mazowe orphanage gate, demanding justice before they marched around the shopping centre in solidarity with others celebrating Mugabe’s downfall.
Others, mostly the elderly, showed NewsDay wounds sustained from beatings at the hands of police officers. They warned the Mugabes to stay away from their pieces of land.
“Because of Grace and her husband, we stayed at Arnold Farm like captives. They demolished our houses each time we tried to put up structures. They enjoyed it when we slept in the open with our grandchildren,” Stella Nikisi (65) said while showing a swollen leg sustained from assault by the police.
“Whenever police came to harass us they made sure that they also destroyed our food and property, saying the First Family didn’t want to see us at the farm.
“However, today we are happy that at last we are liberated. We are free people and all those who didn’t want to protect us, particularly (Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin) Dinha and the district administrator’s office, have been shamed. It’s wrong to side with greedy people.”
Fungisai Masaka said almost a month ago, police officers assaulted her, ordering her and others to leave the farm.
She expressed gratitude to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for making it possible to remove Mugabe and “stopping his greedy wife”.
There are approximately 146 households at Arnold Farm which is adjacent to Mugabe’s private school.
Some said they were now suffering from high blood pressure because of the protracted fights they had with Grace, who wanted to extend the family business empire into their settlement.
Others claimed their children were now facing difficulties in coping at school owing to endless victimisation at the hands of law enforcers acting on behalf of Grace. Denboy Chaparadza, chairman of the Arnold Farm Residents’ Association, said they were happy that their tormentors had fallen.
“We want to show the world that we are happy today. We have been staying in captive for a long time, but we are free now. No more greed people in leadership who think everything belongs to them,” he said.
“Imagine that some people ended up staying in nearby gumtrees only because of Grace and her husband. On top of destroying our shelter and taking away our food, we were banned from using Mazowe Dam on allegations that Grace had put her fish there therefore everything in that dam was her’s.”
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