Displacements and Evictions
40 years post-Independence, the displacement of indigenous communities continues. Several people have been displaced without compensation in the past including in Chiadzwa, Marange and other areas. Now the government is on it again as they have gazetted SI50/2021 which ordered eviction of people that live in Chilonga for the purposes of a lucerne grass project and SI51/2021 that declared the land as state land on 26 February 2021. While SI 50/2021 was repealed, by SI72A/2021, SI51 was not and the people in Chilonga are now living as strangers on their ancestral land, in danger of eviction, to be replaced by lucerne grass for the benefit of a Midlands based dairy company.
Loss of Power for the Legislature
While the Constitution allows for delegated legislation, the speed at which the government is introducing new SIs seems like the Parliament’s law-making power has been usurped by the executive. We are only in March and we already have series of SIs with some of them circumventing democratic law making on issues of great importance like the displacement of 12 000 people from Sengwe (Chilonga) in Chiredzi and the holding of elections.
On March 17 2021, 6 more members of the National Assembly were recalled by PDP, bringing the total number of representatives (MPs and Senators) that have lost their sits due to political bickering in their supposed parties to 47. This means that the citizens’ rights to representation in the constituencies and wards affected have been violated.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on the 22nd of March announced the resumption of some electoral activities following Government’s relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown early this month. In a statement, ZEC Chief Elections Officer Utoile Silaigwana said the electoral body has lifted the suspension of voter registration and some field work it announced in January with effect from 1 April 2021. However, the Commission announced that by-elections remain suspended despite scores of constituencies and wards that remain unrepresented.