Zimbabwe government, villagers in battle over land


Lake Mutirikwi

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bureau
HARARE, (CAJ News) – A ZIMBABWEAN court has freed on bail over 60 villagers who have been resisting evacuation from their ancestral lands.

On Monday, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers arrested the locals and charged them for allegedly contravening the Water Act by reportedly settling along the banks of the country’s second largest water-body – Mutirikwi Dam, in Masvingo province.

They have been residing there for more than 20 years.

Prosecutors alleged that the 66 villagers unlawfully held, used or occupied Lake Mutirikwi basin, which is a prohibited dam basin.

The prosecutors, who stated that the complainant in the matter is the state represented by Trust Mvurume of Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), charged that the villagers have been unlawfully occupying some pieces of land under Lake Mutirikwi Dam basin since 2000 with no legal right to do so.

A Masvingo magistrate has freed them on bail.

They are set to return to court on Monday, where their trial is scheduled to commence.

Land is an emotive issue in Zimbabwe.

The year the villagers started residing in the said area, Zimbabwe embarked on an exercise to reclaim land from the minority white commercial farmers.

Later, the government was accused of forcing locals from their ancestral lands.

– CAJ News

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