via PYD slams Herald story on land dispute – The Zimbabwean 7.10.2015
The Platform for Youth Development has expressed shock at what it describes as “the depth to which The Herald newspaper has negatively viewed the work PYD is doing despite the organisation’s bravery and consistency in representing the vulnerable villagers of Chisumbanje and Chinyamukwakwa”.
The article in The Herald (1 October 2015, headlined Chisumbanje land row sucks in Mangoma) is “fictitious and an embarrassment to the journalistic fraternity” says PYD, alleging that the story was planted by Green Fuel, who it accuses of muddying the waters surrounding the five-year-old boundary dispute that has been widely reported in the local and international media.
“The dispute between Green Fuel and the communities in Chisumbanje and Chinyamukwakwa can only be resolved by government intervention, which we are pursuing. The struggle has been sustained by genuine villagers and farmers who have no links with the donor community.
Peddling olies and belittling of our struggle as induced by money is not only baseless and sheer abuse of the media by Green Fuel but also giving permission to politicians who have been milking the company under the guise of protecting it from public criticism and scrutiny,” says PYD in a statement this week.
“We wish to put it on record that Platform for Youth Development is a lawful organization that is fully registered and affiliated with the Zimbabwe Youth Council. We have never supported criminal activities and challenge the police to investigate and arrest criminals, than to hide away from their duty while labeling those struggling to defend their right to land as criminals.
“We have witnessed and reported unprofessionalism by police who have arrested and wantonly beaten innocent villagers tilling their land while supporting the version of Green Fuel in this dispute. This beating of villagers is well recorded and there are cases pending at Chipinge Magistrates courts.
“Green Fuel guards have joined in and have been provoking the communities in Chinyamukwakwa labeling them as sugarcane thieves. PYD will continue to engage Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to target some of the overzealous security guards and police officers who believe they are immune to arrest by taking the law into their own hands. It is sad that The Herald chose to portray the right to legal representation as a sponsorship, a sign showing lack of an appreciation of the work of human rights defenders,” says PYD.