from SHELUZANI MAKHESE in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe
CHIREDZI, (CAJ News) – VILLAGERS in southeastern Zimbabwe have vowed to resist reported plans to evict them from their ancestral lands and make way for a project to produce stockfeed.
This puts the Chiredzi Land Taskforce on a likely collision course with authorities, who have allegedly reportedly concluded plans with an unknown investor to turn the Chilonga/Masivamele communal areas lands into farms to produce the alfafa crop, also known as lucerne, for livestock.
The lands in question are all in the Chiredzi District.
The areas reportedly earmarked for the project are communal, with over 1 000 families set to be displaced.
They are bordered by the Gonarezhou National Park to the south, Malilangwe Conservancy in the east, Triangle and Hippo Valley to the north and Mkwasine sugar estates to the west.
Vonani Majoko, the spokesperson of the Chiredzi Land Taskforce, expressed villagers’ opposition to the plans by authorities.
Majoko cited lack of consultation by government and the likelihood of locals not benefitting from the establishment of the lucerne project.
“These real concerns worry and frighten us,” Majoko said.
“In the circumstances we are inclined to be opposed to the project which, like many before it, threaten our very existence as communities,” he said.
Majoko hinted at the locals approaching the courts to stop government’s plans.
“To protect our communities, ancestral lands and posterity we are determined to do everything legally in our power as affected communities to protect our communities from further deprivation and impoverishment,” Majoko said.
He said local communities had over the years been deprived of their land, hence the opposition to the setting up of the stockfeed project at the expense of villagers.
“The communities enclosed by the investments named are the small remainder of what little land is left after systematic displacements and forced removals over the years, dating back to colonial displacements,” Majoko added.
– CAJ News