from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEAN lawyers have intervened to protect the eviction of villagers who are under pressure from authorities to make way for a Chinese mining company.
The villagers at Kaseke in Uzumba in the Mashonaland East province are at the risk of losing their homesteads, farming fields and grazing land to Heijin Mining.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) argues the move, without consultation and the consent of the occupiers of the land, is unlawful in terms of Section 31(1)(h) of the Mines and Minerals Act.
Under the law, no holder of a prospecting licence can proceed to peg communal land occupied as a village without the written consent of the Rural District Council of the area concerned.
Lawyer Tinashe Chinopfukutwa has written a letter to the Mining Commissioner for Mashonaland East province and to the Environmental Management Agency seeking explanations.
This is the latest eviction controversy in Zimbabwe.
Some politicians in the Southern African country have been criticised for flouting laws to evict rural communities and offering land to foreign-owned companies, in return for kickbacks.
This is the legacy of controversial land reform programmes and the so-called “Look East” drive to lure investors from Asia over the past two decades.
– CAJ News