Villagers should fight for their rights: Minister 

Source: Villagers should fight for their rights: Minister -Newsday Zimbabwe

VILLAGERS in Matabeleland South who have been evicted from their land should not lose heart but should fight for their rights and formalise their occupations, a minister has said.

Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister Evelyn Ndlovu told NewsDay in an interview that the settlers should follow up with the relevant ministry to find out what was delaying the formalisation process.


Ndlovu was responding to inquiries about 180 villagers from Gwanda who were arrested for illegal occupation of land at Hollings Block Farm.

They appeared in court last month but had their charges withdrawn before plea.

“The problem is that our people lack education, they must follow up with the Lands ministry and get their documents. When some of them occupied the land they started to relax.

“How can it take so long like that? Some have been on the land since early 2000, how can it take so long to have papers? That is inefficiency,” she said.


Ndlovu said some of the villagers approached her but failed to give comprehensive statements regarding their cases which she attributed to lack of education on how to deal with such cases.

In February, government embarked on a blitz to evict “illegal” settlers from State land amid accusations the exercise was meant to benefit a connected and powerful few.

The evictions were carried out ruthlessly, with critics saying they mirror those conducted on locals by white settlers over a century ago.

Most of the villagers approached the courts leading to the suspension of evictions.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF Gwanda Nyandeni district chairperson Bongani Mlilo vowed to speak out on behalf of the evicted settlers saying they were inhumanely treated during incarceration.

“Even if the case has been withdrawn, we want to know the way forward. We want the right document to authenticate our stay.

“The process should not be made private. These land officers should come on the ground and engage people over the issue,’’ he said.