Major relief for persecuted Mazowe villagers

via Major relief for persecuted Mazowe villagers- The ZImbabwean 30 January 2015 by ZLHR

THE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has agreed to put in place measures that minimize conflict and interaction between wild animals and some villagers in Mazowe in a major triumph for the tormented farmers.

Lawyers representing some families in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central province recently turned to the country’s courts seeking an order to compel Zimbabwean authorities to move out wild animals which had been brought to Anold Farm by the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

In an urgent chamber application filed in the High Court on Friday 23 January 2015, the Mazowe families represented by Anold Farm Residents Association and three other villagers wanted parties listed as respondents to be interdicted from bringing, putting wild animals or doing anything that will result in the eviction of the Mazowe villagers or destruction of their homes or properties.

In addition, the villagers through their lawyers Tonderai Bhatasara of Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys, Gift Mtisi of Musendekwa, Mtisi Legal Practitioners, Webster Jiti and David Hofisi, who are members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights wanted Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to remove or cause the removal of, or otherwise procure the removal of all wild animals that they brought onto Anold Farm. Apart from Kasukuwere and Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the villagers also listed Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora and Trustees of the board of the National Museums and Monuments as respondents in the matter.

High Court Judge Justice November Mtshiya on Thursday 29 January 2015 granted a consent order agreed to by the villagers’ lawyers and the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s legal representatives led by Farai Mutamangira of Mutamangira and Associates Legal Practitioners.

Part of the consent order reads; “”It is ordered that the 4th Respondent (Parks and Wildlife Management Authority) will in terms of the Wild Life Management Act (Chapter 20:14), take steps to ensure that there is no conflict/interaction between the Zebras and persons occupying Anold’s Farm”.

According to the villagers, officers from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority on Wednesday 21 January 2015 unleashed dangerous wild animals including 100 Zebras onto the unfenced Anold Farm which are damaging their properties and crops which they rely upon for food, income and subsistence. The Zimbabwean authorities, the farmers charged are also about to bring elephants, lions, leopards and rhinos on the farm which is not a national park, conservancy or sanctuary but arable land from which the villagers have been farming since 2000.

The villagers said their children are no longer safe or willing to go to school because of these animals.

The contemptuous and unlawful conduct of the officers of the respondents, the villagers charged, is a violation of their right not to be evicted arbitrarily in terms of Section 74 of the Constitution and is meant to circumvent court orders prohibiting the demolition and eviction of the Mazowe families without court orders.

The Mazowe villagers further argued that assuming that the area where they are currently residing is to be used as a national park, the authorities should have properly settled them somewhere else or if they are to stay there, properly fenced off the area to be occupied by the animals, of which it has not been done.

Recently, High Court Judge Justice Erica Ndewere ordered government authorities to stop demolishing the villagers’ housing structures and evicting them from the Mazowe farm.

Justice Ndewere faulted government authorities for violating the Mazowe villagers’ constitutional rights after razing down their homes during a demolition exercise, which was rolled out since early last week.

Justice Ndewere ruled that the Mazowe families should remain in peaceful occupation of their properties as the government authorities had arbitrarily demolished their houses and evicted them outside of the law and without securing a court order as dictated in Section 74 of the country’s new Constitution.

The ruling by Justice Ndewere came after ZLHR lawyers filed an urgent chamber application on behalf of six Mazowe villagers seeking an order to interdict the police, Mohadi and Mombeshora from demolishing housing structures.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    Dereck Zisengwe 8 years ago

    The big picture is that the Court have managed to pass the order for Parks to fence off Grace’s private game sanctuary