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Stop Evictions in Zimbabwe
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Source: The Zimbabwe People’s Land Rights Movement (ZPLRM)
02-13-2019

On 8 January 2019, 1,000 families from Mzaro Farm in Masvingo West were served eviction orders signed by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. The deadline for eviction was set for seven days later, on 15 January 2019. However, as of 4 February 2019 the inhabitants remain on their land.
The order cited violation of section 3 of the Gazetted Lands (Consequential Provisions) Act Chapter 20:28, claiming that residents are occupying land without lawful authority. Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Ezra Chadzamira blamed village leaders and land officials who illegally parceled out state lands to residents in return for kickbacks, urging those who paid for land to report those people to the police as it is unlawful to sell land in Zimbabwe.
Residents have lived at Mzaro Farm since 2000, having occupied the land at the height of the country’s land reform program, and have built permanent structures on the land. Some villagers insist that they already have regularized their residency with the Ministry and pay taxes. The government has not offered compensation or alternative location for resettlement.

The land in question is in the catchment area of the Mutirikwi Dam. Chadzamira has stated that the primary target for eviction are those who settled illegally around major dams, in order to prevent further siltation of the reservoirs, which the government blames on overpopulation and uncontrolled land settlement.1 According to a village leader, some community members settled at Mzaro Farm prior to the dam’s construction as part of a land concession, which allowed them to settle where they currently reside, at a prescribed distance from the catchment area.

Residents at Mzaro Farms were the first to be served eviction in Masvingo, where several thousand residents now face eviction. In Mwenzei District, Zimbabwe Bio Energy (ZBE) are threatening to evict 2,713 households from lands on Naunetsi Ranch, which they received as compensation in 2014 after their relocation due to construction of the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo. The eviction would clear land for an ethanol plant to be built by ZBE, the owners of the Ranch.2 Currently, the company is fencing all its property, including lands used by residents, for grazing, and is preventing residents from using dip tanks and accessing other water sources. The community now relies on 35 boreholes that pump only saline (non-potable) water.

In a similar incident in Chiredzi District, the Ministry of Lands along with the local District Administrator plan to resettle over 10,000 people in Feversham, Arda Magudu, Mutirikwi Section, Wasara Wasara, Chegwite, Lavanga, Masapasi, Angus and Mukazi properties in the Save Valley Conservancy. The planned operation will target for eviction those who do not hold offer letters and otherwise settled without government authorization.4 The evictions are cited as required because the settlement contravenes Section 3 of the Gazetted Lands Act Chapter 20:28 directive through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Minister Chadzamira confirmed that more than 2000 families are facing eviction.

Angus is a Dutch-owned property. The Dutch ambassador to Zimbabwe has indicated that no further Dutch investments would be made in the country as long as the Zimbabwean inhabits remain on the land, thus, pressuring the Zimbabwe government to remove the residents. The 2000 land reform has caused numerous multilateral and diplomatic problems beyond national borders.

Recent evictions have also occurred in Bindura district in northern Zimbabwe, where scores of farmers have been removed from their residencies on Claverhill North farm have been living in a makeshift squatter tent for three months. The farm, which had previously belonged to Kingsway Community Church, had recently been taken over by new owners.

In yet another recent case, members of a community of 1,000 families who were evicted from Marange diamond field and relocated to Ardu Transau in Odzi beginning in 2010 have experienced threats of attack by unidentified persons whom the victims believe are agents of Central Intelligence Organisation, the state security apparatus. On relocation, the families were promised compensation of homes and agricultural land, which they did not receive. The community believes this intimidation to be related to the case and is currently taking the government to court over their eviction and entitlements8 based on Zimbabwe’s Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from Eviction) Act of June 2001,9 which was replaced by both the Land Acquisition Act10 and the former Constitution’s section 16B, 11 as referred to in the new 2013 Constitution, and the present Constitutions provisions in sections 72 (Rights to agricultural land) and 74 (Freedom from arbitrary eviction).



For more info read the report from the Zimbabwe People’s Land Rights Movement (ZPLRM)
 
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• Housing and Land Rights / Right to Adequate Housing   • Urgent Action Appeals   
 
   
 


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