Pressure Group Rescues Chipinge Villagers From Eviction
A Chipinge based pressure group, Platform for Youth Development (PYD) last week intervened to stop the eviction of more than 500 families from Munyokowere village in Chipangayi, ward 5 of Chipinge West constituency in Manicaland.
Details surrounding the legal case are long and winding but very painful and difficult to justify why such a callous and cruel decision was being implemented by the government. The matter which is now being handled by Advocate Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) involves vulnerable women and children who are still to recover from the trauma of Cyclone Idai which struck the most in Chipinge and Chimanimani in March 2019.
The various eviction letters handed to the Munyokowere villagers are signed by Mr Tapiwanashe Chagwesha acting on behalf of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Rural Resettlement, Water & Climate. The letters which are dated the 27th of April 2019 have been received by villagers with shock and amusement considering the villagers’ claim to the area in question, and also their amicable relationship with the responsible government departments such as the office of the District Administrator and that of the Chipinge Rural District Council.
The Munyokowere villagers were given only 7 days to vacate their areas of jurisdictions despite having received no communication prior to the eviction and neither is there an alternate place for the villagers to be accommodated for humanitarian considerations.
This eviction is being done allegedly to fulfill some cabinet resolution directing the aforementioned government department to role out nation wide eviction of people from gazzetted stateland.
Platform for Youth Development is not convinced that this is the role of government to punish vulnerable citizens. This case flies in the face of justice and the approach being announced by President Mnangagwa,especially that there has been no prior communication to the villagers on account of human life and security.It is therefore a community responsibility at leadership and humanitarian purposes for PYD to rescue the villagers by challenging these illegal evictions.PYD has been with the affected villagers as soon as they received the eviction letters and we are more than convinced that their rights have been violated by those with the mandate to protect them.Due processes required by law have not been followed and we will stand to prove this.
PYD is aware of the provisions of the law which has not been followed and therefore has approached ZLHR to challenge the evictions in the court of law using the constitution of Zimbabwe.
It is sad to note that these evictions are being done by government when schools are opening for second term in less than three days from now.PYD is also equally concerned that the evictions have waited for the cold winter season to come before being implemented.This can not be fair !
The Munyokowere villagers are now phycologically traumatized and uncertain over their future due to the act by a government department to evict them without following due processes.
PYD has been privileged with the history of the Munyokowere villagers since the 1950s in our appreciation of the matter at stake .There is evidence of paper trail and affidavits confirming that, the land in question was legitimately allocated to the Munyokowere family by the then Chipinge District Administrator Mr Mufukare who was representing the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in 1992.
This was done following a request from ARDA and Settler farmers who needed the spiritual prowess of the family to handle misfortunes linked to our Ndau traditions and rituals within the designated area.If the area is gazetted as claimed, due processes must be followed.
Henry Munyokowere is an active and legitimate village head in terms of the law.
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