from DANAI MWARUMBA in Mutare
MUTARE, (CAJ News) – MORE than 100 villagers east of Zimbabwe have dragged an ethanol producer to court in protest of the company occupying their communal land and interfering with farming activities.
The villagers in Chipinge, Manicaland Province have petitioned the High
Court seeking an order restraining GreenFuel from depriving them access to
land and from destroying their crops.
In the urgent chamber application, the villagers argued that GreenFuel
unlawfully invaded Magokova communal land in Chisumbanje area of Chipinge
intending to expand its sugarcane farming operations.
The land, which they have had use of from the colonial times through
inheritance from their parents, the villagers argued, is currently used by
138 families for agricultural purposes, where they grow cotton as their
sole cash crop and maize for subsistence purposes.
Their concern came after GreenFuel started barring them from tilling their
fields, tendering their germinated crops and from total access at all.
GreenFuel has set armed security guards and dogs to ward off the villagers.
This is despite the company not securing a court order to bar the
villagers, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights stated.
According to the lawyers, this is in violation of the villagers’ rights to
agricultural land, food and property.
Justice Hlekani Mwayera is presiding over the matter.
– CAJ News