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MDC-A Demands Referendum Over Chilonga Villagers Evictions

Hon Tendai Biti on Chilonga Evictions

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Lucerne-Grass

By Staff Reporter

Opposition MDC Alliance said contrary to reports by Government no consultation were done with Chilonga villagers over their relocation.

The party’s vice president Tendai Biti said they were in Chilonga and the situation on the ground showed Government was lying as Traditional Leaders said they required a referendum to decide on whether they wanted to leave or not.

“The right to consult must be entranced in the law if there is a developmental project in the national interest, the people must be consulted,” said Biti.

“One chief said there must be a referendum in this community (Chilonga) because you cannot just simply wake up in Harare, waking up on the wrong side of the bed and say I am taking away 12 hectares of land.

“So, the affected individuals must participate in a referendum, are you for this development project, does it actually benefit us, the right to be heard, the right to consult is part of our constitution

“But for a party that purports and calls itself a liberation movement, this is pathetic and absolutely unacceptable.”

Biti said there was need to repeal the Communal Lands Act which he said was used to displace villagers under the Tribal Trust Land Act.

The Tribal Trust Land Act was passed by the white settlers’ regime in 1931.

“We demand that the Government must repeal as a matter of urgency statutory instrument 50 of 2021 and SI 51 of 2021,” Biti said.

“But more than that, we argue that the government as a matter of urgency repeal the Communal Lands Act,

“The Communal Lands Act was passed by the government of Zimbabwe in 1983 but when you look at it and you read it, it is worded exactly literary word for word with the Tribal Trust Lands Act.

“Which took away black people and placed them in Tribal Trust Land it stripped black people in their land and even those in tribal trust land there were not given trust to traditional leaders, they were given to the President, a sitting President was given ownership of Tribal Trust Land.

“So, the President of the day can literary Treat Tribal Trust Land or Communal Land as his private property.

“As this one (Mnangagwa) is doing, taking away land and giving it to his cronies.”

“So, we demand that they must be an immediate repeal of the Tribal Trust Land Act now known as the Communal Land Act so that land rest with the people.

“So that villagers who have stayed in lands for thousands and thousands of years are actually given that land.”

Biti said according to the MDC Alliance blueprint villagers should be given title deeds to their land

“That everyone in the communal lands which measure 19 million hectares across the land and breath of Zimbabwe should be given a certificate of title on his rural land which is tradable, which can be used in a bank to borrow on it,” said Biti.

“Which means that they cannot be dispossessed of their land without compensation, which means that you will become subject to protection of the property rights provision of the Constitution in particular Section 71 of the Constitution.

“It is absurd that 41 years after independence, as a communal farmer you actual do not have rights to that land.”

 

Robert Tapfumaneyi

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