BY VANESSA GUZHA
THE Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum yesterday approached the Attorney-General (AG)’s Office seeking the alignment of Communal Lands Act with the Constitution to protect citizens from arbitrary evictions from their homes.
The Communal Lands Act is being applied by the government to displace villagers in Chilonga in Chiredzi to pave way for a lucerne project. Villagers have occupied that land for generations, but do not have title deeds.
“It is a well-known fact that the aforesaid Act has provisions that are inconsistent with the Constitution and are regrettably being used to violate human rights in communities,” the forum said in a petition to the AG’s Office.
“We are urgently seeking you to intervene and come up with a Bill to push for the alignment of this law with the Constitution.”
The AG indicated that persons occupying communal land were not protected by the Constitution as they did not own the land despite occupying it for decades.
The forum added that the Communal Lands Act was unconstitutional as it violated freedom from arbitrary evictions, violations of property rights and failed to recognise the cultural and indigenous rights of communities over communal land. The request was forwarded to the inter-ministerial taskforce on alignment of laws for consideration.
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