Masvingo Centre for Research Advocacy and Development (MACRAD) trust continuing its partnership with Community Alliance for Human Settlements in Zimbabwe and Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs conducted constitutional literacy meetings on land, property and inheritance rights in Chiredzi North, Gutsaruzhinji A, B & C and in Masvingo rural ward 7 Clipsham farm. Community leaders, village heads, women and youths participated in the meetings. In Gutsaruznhinji C there is an ongoing land conflict which left 52 families homeless since July 11 2020 and in clipsham farm over 200 households are facing arbitrary eviction for the expansion of Masvingo City.
The land and property rights literacy meetings contribute towards amicable land disputes resolution and durable solutions to internal displacement. Lawyers from the MoJLPA imparted knowledge on the fundamental human rights shrined in the constitution. The participants were given a constitution which many agreed that they never received, especially the one in Shona language. Many citizens in the resettlements areas and farming areas are not aware of their fundamental human rights. The few who alluded that they are aware of property, education, health, food, water, agriculture land rights and freedom from arbitrary eviction but they are only enjoying these rights on paper. In reality violation of their fundamental rights is now the normal state.
The participants highlighted that the independent commissions are inaccessible and many participants were not aware of them and their functions. In clipsham the communities blame the provincial Ministry of lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement for being corrupt as they fail to access certificates from the ministry. Clipsham residents settled in Clipsham after being given the green light by war veterans and ZANU Pf leadership during the fast track land reform programme early 2000s. MACRAD observed that land is a key question in the province. Many citizens are not enjoying their rights to property and land, especially women. Also politics is playing a role in the distribution of land and accessing of legal documents such as title deeds, certificates.
MACRAD noted that security of tenure to these communities will be associated with the basket of rights: (i) use rights: are rights to grow crops, trees, make permanent improvement, harvest, (ii) transfer rights: are rights to transfer land or use rights, i.e., rights to sell, give, mortgage, lease, rent or bequeath land; (iii) exclusion rights: are rights by an individual, group or community to excluded others from the rights discussed above; and (iv) enforcement rights: refer to the legal, institutional and administrative provisions to guarantee rights.
Source: Masvingo Centre for Research Advocacy and Development (MACRAD)