FOUR villagers from Chinyamukwakwa communal area in Chisumbanje were arrested last week following boundary clashes with management at Greenfuels.
REPORT BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
Claris Madhuku, the director of Platform for Youth Development Trust, a pressure group mandated to mediate between the villagers and the fuel company, said the parties clashed after Greenfuels allegedly encroached into the communal areas.
Madhuku said four villagers namely Jeremiah Nyamunda, Mike Mashava, Phineaus Muyambo and Taurai Makuyana were detained for five hours on August 31 and released after about 100 fellow villagers stormed the police station demanding their release.
Colonel Robson Matonhodze, a senior executive at Greenfuels, confirmed the clashes yesterday, but denied claims that the company had unilaterally extended its boundary into the village.
“We are operating on land that is covered by our agreement with ARDA (Agricultural and Rural Development Association),” Matonhodze said.
“They (Chimukwakwa villagers) say they want part of the land because they think it is a liberated zone yet when the place was established, it was under Greater Chisumbanje. It’s in Chimukwakwa village alone where we have problems.”
Madhuku, however, said Greenfuels applied for more land from Chipinge Rural District Council, but before they were allocated the land by the local authority they went ahead and allocated themselves 3 000 hectares from the communal area.
“The clashes that led to the arrest of the four are not new,” Madhuku said.
“They have been there since 2010, but became more pronounced in January 2013 leading to 40 villagers getting arrested when they clashed with riot police. The matter was then resolved by the District Ethanol Plant Implementation Committee (Depic).”
Depic is an inclusive committee set up by a Cabinet inter-ministerial committee chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara in October 2012 to resolve the dispute.