ZLHR, Hurungwe council on warpath over evictions

via ZLHR, Hurungwe council on warpath over evictions – The Zimbabwean 14.10.2015

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are on the warpath over Hurungwe rural district council’s eviction of 500 villagers under Chief Chundu.

Some 1 200 people face eviction from Manyenyedzi, Mayamba, Kabidza as the council claims they were illegally settled in the buffer zone.

Villagers say the move is instigated by Chief Abel Mbasera Chundu who has victimised some village heads claiming they are ‘’thick headed’’.

They live in constant fear of traditional leaders following the impasse that dates back to 1997, although some of the villagers’ forefathers were settled in 1936. This has prompted some of the victims to seek legal assistance over the continued threats ahead of the imminent rainy season.

“We have instructions from our clients that they face imminent eviction from their villages which they have been in occupation of since time immemorial.

Their ancestry is buried at Chundu village and they do not know any other home. Our clients are legal settlers settled under the Laws of Zimbabwe under Communal Lands Act.

They have paid taxes to you. We have further information that our clients have not been offered any alternative land to reside therefore if evicted they would be left destitute and homeless,” says a letter from ZLHR to the council.

Although the council was yet to respond to the latest appeal, villagers say some traditional leaders are defying the order and claim the eviction will go ahead.

‘’We have been told that those within the three kilometre buffer zone will have to go, no matter what legal representation we have. We are living in constant fear and the assurances we have had are coming to naught,’’ said one village head who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

Zanu (PF) Member of Parliament for the area, Reuben Marumahoko, said if council has been to court to force evictions, they must wait for the court to decide.

“It is improper that council approached the courts to effect eviction and they are now making these threats. I am yet to know where they will relocate them,” he said in an interview.