On the 11th of May 2019, MACRAD conducted a discussion forum in Chiredzi Rural District Council, ward 6, Chilonga communal area, Munguni village. The discussion was a fact finding mission concerning the government’s decision to evict more than 2000 families under Chief Sengwe in ward 6 and 21, part of Chiredzi South and East.

The topics covered included land rights, conflict management, peace building strategies, tracking and document human rights violations. The discussion was attended by 25 participants constituting 10 females and 15 males. Amongst the participants were ward 6 councilor Rodgers Mashora, Villageheads Mungoni, Hasani, Vhelemu, Mahlekete and Mapimele, war veteran representative Mr Mapiye, Mr Chandhlale representing farmers and Mr Chikutu ward development committee member.

Participants alluded that the government didn’t consult them regarding to the project and currently there have no information on where there will be relocated to. The councilor who was present on a meeting conducted by Minister July Moyo on the 30th of March alluded that, the government is not clearly explaining how these communities are going to benefit from the project and if there are going to be relocated how are there going to compensated them.

The participants argued that, there are going to resist the eviction as there will be relocated to areas where there is no basic infrastructure, which includes schools and clinics. The participants are giving reference of the Chingwizi and Chisumbanje cases were the affected communities are still enduring hardship despite promises made by government.

Legal expert Fidelicy Nyamukondiwa discuss land rights, fundamental human rights and freedoms with the participants. He also highlighted the proper procedures of relocation which the government is entitled to abide to. Participants were tasked to identify conflicts in their community and exhibited willingness to resolve conflicts in their communities.

The participants agreed to establish a WhatsApp group to share and exchange ideas and experiences on peace building and conflict transformation. The Chilonga local leaders are going to take the matter to court with the help of MACRAD.

The participants with the help of MACRAD create two peace committees in Sengwe ward 21 and Chilonga ward 7. MACRAD and its structures (Peace clubs and Land ambassadors) and Chilonga communities agreed to launch a campaign title LAND4LIFE/ LIFEonLAND (Simu Lihanyo/Lihanyo hisimu) to expose and oppose the continuing and various forms of land and resource grabbing in Masvingo Province. The campaign aims to highlight and stop land and resource grabbing as a gross violation of the human rights of the people.

Source: Masvingo Centre for Research, Advocacy and Development (MACRAD)