Chipinge Villagers Face Court Over Land Dispute With Local Authority

300 Residents Summoned Amidst Ancestral Land Occupation Controversy

by Adenike Adeodun

In a recent development that has stirred controversy in the Chipinge Rural District Council (RDC) area, approximately 300 villagers from Munyokowere, Ward 5, have been summoned to appear at the Chipinge Magistrates Court. The charge against them is the illegal occupation of communal land, a matter complicated by an ongoing land boundary dispute with the local authority. The villagers, who fall under the jurisdiction of Chief Mutema, argue that the land is customary and has belonged to their ancestors for generations.

This legal action, represented by Lovemore Madhuku, comes as a surprise to the community, especially since a related case concerning the same piece of land is currently pending before the High Court. In previous hearings, the court had directed Chipinge RDC to engage in a process of free, prior, and informed consent if it intended to proceed with the eviction of villagers for the purpose of urban development.

According to a report by Newsday, Chipinge RDC claims ownership over the disputed land, spanning approximately 1,000 hectares, with plans to transform it into a residential area. This decision has not only caused unrest among the local population but has also raised questions about the timing and nature of the charges brought against the villagers.

Claris Madhuku, director of the Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD) Trust, took to social media to voice his concerns. He highlighted the villagers’ confusion and staunch denial of the charges, emphasizing the ongoing legal battle at the High Court, where Chipinge RDC was instructed to seek the villagers’ consent for eviction plans.

The situation in Chipinge highlights the broader issue of land ownership disputes in Zimbabwe, a country with a history of contentious land reforms initiated in 2000 under the government of the late former President Robert Mugabe. These reforms led to the eviction of approximately 4,000 white farmers and the subsequent informal occupation of the land by indigenous communities.

Amidst these legal and social challenges, the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture, led by Minister Anxious Masuka, has issued a stern warning against illegal settlements on state land, stating that those without title deeds will not be regularized and will face legal consequences. This stance underscores the government’s commitment to addressing land disputes and ensuring lawful land use and ownership in Zimbabwe.

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.