OVER 600 villagers in Mutare South constituency have challenged their local authority’s decision to set up a growth point in the area, saying the development would take away their fertile agricultural land.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
The villagers, particularly from Buwerimwe, Mvududu and Chitakatira, said the proposed Chitakatira growth point would leave them poorer as their ancestral agricultural land would be taken up by the growth point.
Through their lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the villagers have since petitioned Mutare Rural District Council (MRDC) to stop the project, which they claimed was being imposed on them.
Part of the ZLHR letter read: “They rely on their land as a source of livelihood by growing crops which they sell for survival. They own livestock which is their source of wealth and no explanation has been given on how issues will be addressed. They want their concerns to be addressed, the growth point should serve their interests not destroy their livelihood.”
The villagers also accused council of being mum on the issue of compensation.
“The affected people have occupied the land and practised their own traditional and cultural beliefs and practices since time immemorial. Their historical burial shrines and burial grounds are located on the land at issue. The right to property must be also taken into account. The inhabitants have ancestral ties to the land, within Zimbabwe the land at issue is communal land,” the lawyers said.