BY WINSTON ANTONIO
THOUSANDS of women from Chipinge have demanded an immediate stop to forced removal of locals living on customary land, especially women and children by the Chipinge Rural District Council.
In a community declaration presented to Lands minister Anxious Masuka in Harare yesterday, the women demanded an immediate stop to forced removal of locals living on customary land, especially women and children, to pave way for Green Fuel sugar
“That discovery of gold and diamond minerals must not lead to arbitrary eviction of land rights holders by ALROSA mining companies,” the declaration read in part.
“That land allocation must prioritise locals, especially women rather than foreigners. That men and women must enjoy the same land rights.”
The women said they should have a clear right to say “yes or no” to developments on their land.
They demanded an immediate stop to the use of force and violence by investors, which includes slashing down of crops, confiscation of livestock and beating up of residents.
The women said there was a need to stop corruption and undue influence during investor consultation with traditional leaders.
“We demand a review of investment policies that promote ‘land grabbing’ at the expense of the needs of local farmers,” they said.
“We demand fair compensation that includes alternative productive land and adequate time for relocation in the case of us saying yes to the State/investors taking land for other uses. The compensation must include women and children and not prioritise just men.”
The women also demanded fulfilment of promises by the investors like employment of locals.
“We demand adequate information on all investments earmarked for our Chipinge district and 50-50 participation of women in traditional leaders’ committees that govern our land.”
The declaration also demanded inclusion of women as traditional leaders and that investors should respect traditional leaders who preside over customary land.
“We demand social service delivery like maternal clinics, water, dip tanks for all including women, youth and people living with disability.”
The community declaration was conceived when the Rural Women of Chipinge in Zimbabwe with support from Platform for Youth and Community Development and Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies met in Checheche on October 5, 2021.