Villagers defy government bullies in land squabble

Alfalfa, Lucerne plant

Alfalfa, Lucerne plant

from SHELUZANI MAKHESE in Chilonga, Zimbabwe
CHIREDZI, (CAJ News) STATE security personnel are allegedly intimidating villagers that are resisting eviction from their ancestral lands southeast of Zimbabwe.

Among those implicated in the squabble over the land are the members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and police who are allegedly agitating for the government to take over the land earmarked for the establishment of a stockfeed project in Chiredzi.

A meeting organized by local villagers hoping to resolve the dispute with headmen, chiefs and local Members of Parliament (MPs) failed to take off after CIO operatives reportedly threatened the leaders.

Chief Sengwe, who was supposed to join fellow traditional leaders Chilonga and Masivamele confirmed he did not attend the meeting while the two MPs also failed to report.

Villagers that attended the foiled meeting still vowed to defy the government threats seeking to evict them from their ancestral lands.

Hundreds of villagers defied the threats and attended the meeting in defiance of the heavy presence of CIO operatives and police at the venue.

Local legislators, Denford Masiya (Chiredzi East) and Callisto Gwanetsa (Chiredzi south), who preside over the lands targeted by government, failed to turn up at the last hour.

“Whether the government, MPs, traditional leaders and their secretive investor attend or not, we are here to tell them enough-is-enough,” said a villager.

“We can no longer allow the little land left on us to be auctioned while we watch. If we ever allow this unknown investor to grab our land without resistance, then our children will never forgive us,” the villager said anonymously.

Another resident accused the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa of abusing its authority in the plans to evict the villagers and establish the stockfeed project.

“This new leadership of ZANU-PF enjoys abusing power. During (former President Robert) Mugabe’s era, at least he respected the role we did during the war of liberation of our country. This so-called ‘New dispensation’ is like the devil himself,” he said.

“They don’t consult. Instead, they enjoy imposing their will on the electorate. During the war of liberation, we played leading role here, now we are being treated as second class citizens in our ancestral land – we say a very big no to eviction!”

Some members of the Chiredzi Land Task Force are mobilising villagers to resist the eviction.

– CAJ News

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