Chishawasha Villagers Lose Court Battle Against Urbanization Project

The Jesuits plan to turn the ancestral land of the vaShawasha into a modern city

by Victor Adetimilehin

The High Court of Zimbabwe has dismissed an application by some villagers in Chishawasha who wanted to stop their eviction from their ancestral land. The villagers had filed an urgent application seeking an interdict to halt the urbanization project spearheaded by the Jesuits, a Catholic religious order.


The Jesuits own Chishawasha Land Project (Pvt) Limited, a company that obtained a permit from the government in 2018 to change the land use from agriculture to urban with predominant residential use. The project aims to create a new city on the land that has been home to the vaShawasha for generations.


No Urgency, No Merit


In her judgment delivered on December 7, High Court judge Justice Emilia Muchawa ruled that the matter was not urgent and struck it off the roll. She said the applicants had failed to act when they became aware of the developments as early as June 2021.


According to a report by Newsday Zimbabwe, the judge also noted that the applicants had not challenged the validity of the permit issued by the Local Government ministry’s department of physical planning. She said the applicants had not shown any legal basis to stop the project.


The Jesuits, through their lawyers Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, argued that they had engaged with the villagers and the traditional leadership on several occasions to explain the project and its benefits. They said they had also conducted a census of all the vaShawasha who would not be moved except for those in areas where roads, power lines, cemetery and other servitudes are located.


Project general manager Isaac Chimbetete said: “The project is being undertaken in seven phases and we will be engaging those whose current residences fall within the current development phase service areas, to discuss with them about compensation and relocation to other stands within Chishawasha.”


A New City in The Making


The urbanization project is expected to transform Chishawasha into a modern city with residential, commercial, industrial, recreational and institutional facilities. The project will also provide infrastructure such as roads, water, sewer, electricity and telecommunications to the area.


The project is part of the government’s vision to create new cities and towns across the country to decongest the existing ones and promote economic growth. The project is also in line with the Jesuits’ mission to serve the people of God and promote social justice.


The project has received support from some stakeholders, including the local authority and the environmental management agency. However, some critics have raised concerns about the impact of the project on the cultural heritage, the natural environment and the livelihoods of the vaShawasha.


The Jesuits have assured that they will respect the rights and interests of the vaShawasha and preserve the historical and ecological value of the land. They have also invited the public to participate in the planning and implementation of the project.


The project is expected to be completed by 2030 and create thousands of jobs and opportunities for the people of Chishawasha and beyond.


This is a chance for the vaShawasha to embrace the change and benefit from the development that will bring improved infrastructure, services and opportunities to their community. 

You may also like

white logo with motto

The Zimbabwe Advocate is more than just a news outlet. We are a movement, a symbol of resistance against misinformation.

Latest News

© 2024 The Zimbabwe Advocate. All Rights Reserved.