Villagers, police clash over disputed land

CHIPINGE — Dozens of angry villagers last week fought running battles with Zimbabwe Republic Police officers over disputed land between villagers and Green Fuel in Chisumbanje.


The clashes started last Monday, but turned nasty over the weekend after armed police stormed the disputed land in Chinyamukwakwa area where close to 100 villagers were tilling the land in preparation for the farming season.

Police had to fire teargas to disperse angry villagers who were threatening to hit back after talks between the two parties allegedly failed to bear fruits.

The villagers claimed the land dispute started in 2009 when management at Green Fuel reneged on their promise to provide alternative land for the farmers displaced by the project.

They said negotiations broke down after the company offered them a paltry 0,4 hectares each.

A recent Cabinet taskforce headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara ordered Green Fuel to finalise the land issue before mandatory blending is introduced. Villagers are accusing the ethanol producing company of encroaching into their land in Chinyamukwakwa.

Contacted for comment, Green Fuel management referred all questions to Chipinge district administrator Freeman Mavhiza who flatly refused to take questions from NewsDay.

In an interview with NewsDay on Saturday following the fracas with police, angry villagers vowed not to bow down until their grievances have been addressed.
They accused police and Green Fuel of employing intimidatory tactics to silence them.

“They can do whatever they want, including hiring police to threaten us, but the truth of the matter is that we are not going to stop fighting,” said Jerry Moyana, one of the affected farmers.

“Today (Saturday) they used force and they fired teargas at us but they are the ones who are encroaching into our land. Naturally we have to fight.

“We are not against this project. We are against the idea of being treated like we are second-class citizens. The Cabinet resolution is so clear to us.

Chinyamukwakwa belongs to us and I don’t even know why we have to go this far,” said Moyana. Platform for Youth Development Trust director Claris Madhuku, whose organisation is representing the villagers, deplored the use of force.

“This is unacceptable. We are saddened and worried with this lack of professionalism exhibited by Chisumbanje police officers. We are appealing to Augustine Chihuri (Police Commissioner-General)and the Cabinet to handle this delicate dispute with utmost care and professionalism” said Madhuku.

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  1. John weku Mabvuku

    Its amazing how The Platform for youth development is suddenly vocal, wherever human development has taken place people have to give way! Vokwa Seke vakabviswa pane Harare International Airport. Tsvagai mari yemaNGO zvakanaka vana Claris. That Plant is going to work, muchaneta, Why deprive the country of development because of selfish corrupt egos.Fighting the police is futile.

  2. It is a simple issue, provide the people with alternative land and the police will not be abused. This whole thing brings hatred to the police rather than to the min of lands who are supposed to act decisively on the issue. The DA is a nobody to this issue since he is powerless. It appears the DA is just divisive because kuDaisy Hill and Chinyamukwakwa ari kutokonzeresa kuti mapurisa avengwe asi ari iye ane nyaya.

  3. John weku Mabvuku kwana. Wanzwa? These people are not refusing to be relocated se zvakaitwa wekwa Seke when they were relocated from where the Harare International Airport stands today.

    Read again Jerry Moyana’s statement, which I have quoted for you here; “We are not against this project. We are against the idea of being treated like we are second-class citizens. The Cabinet resolution is so clear to us.” You see, these people are not against relocation as was recommended through a Cabinet Taskforce resolution, but are against being chased away from their land by Green Fuel without alternative land being made available for them first. That’s all that they want. Alternative land … and nothing else.

    I have again quoted the third paragraph of the above article here so that you may understand these people’s plight well; “The villagers claimed the land dispute started in 2009 when management at Green Fuel reneged on their promise to provide alternative land for the farmers displaced by the project.”

    Ziva kuti if you tremble on people’s rights you will have created work for human rights bodies like Platform for Youth Development. Remember kuti when the Chiadzwa people were relocated to alternative land in order to give way to diamond mining operations, with assistance from the diamond mining companies, the affected people happily complied and no organization cried foul on their behalf.

    Saka Green Fuel must fulfill their obligation in this case by assisting Government relocate the people who are affected by this project. Wozonzwa kuti Platform for Youth Development wanoti chii? Kana Platform for Youth Development yashoropodza futi tinozokubatsira kutuka Platform for Youth Development yacho.

  4. I am surprised with comments from John WekuMabvuku.The story is very clear,thanks to the observation from Pedzi.The problem in Chisumbanje is very clear and i,for one has been following how it is being reported as well i am a resident in Chisumbanje.There is a woman named Lilian Muungani who is suppossed to do PR but has lost herself through emotions to be a pastor.She is busy assembling women and the frustrated employees who are still unpaid to pray for the reopening of the plant.What i mean is that she is using the affected community who are suppossed to demand justice to fight against each other.Lilian is suppossed to help villagers to be united as she advises the company to implement resolutions.As we stand everyone has lost their heads and solutions that are friendly and reasoned are fading away.It is for people like John wekuMabvuku that solutions are taking long.The company has their side of the story and must surely become responsible.The meetings and minutes of deliberations must be collected so that we follow up on who is going against the resolutions.I have read reports from the cabinet and am convinced the villagers are doing the right thing to resist unless the matters are resolved amicably.Remember land is the reason why people have gone to war.It simply means handling villagers with respect or the plant will be vandalised and business lost.Wake up John,Chisumbanje is not Mabvuku

  5. this is what minister mangoma said on star fm about the issue of land to be resolved first b4 mandatory blending.kasukuwere lied to the nation that this issue had been mdc-t

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