High Court Rules on Landmark Chilonga Eviction Challenge

High Court Rules on Landmark Chilonga Eviction Challenge

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HIGH Court Judges Justice Joseph Mafusire, Justice Never Katiyo and Chipo Annie-Lucy Mungwari will on Thursday 6 January 2022 hand down judgment on a landmark application filed by some Chilonga villagers challenging government’s plans to evict more than 12 000 villagers from their ancestral land in Chiredzi to pave way for a commercial irrigation venture.

In their application which was filed in March 2021, the Chilonga villagers, who are represented by Tendai Biti of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, are also challenging provisions of Sections 4 and Section 6(1)(b) of the Communal Lands Act, which vests rural land in the President and want the High Court to set aside these provisions arguing that they are unconstitutional and offend some provisions of the Constitution.

The Chilonga villagers, who are farmers who grow sorghum, maize and millet, were aggrieved after government sought to evict them to pave way for a commercial irrigation venture with media reports stating that they were being moved to pave way for a lucerne production project by a dairy processing company.

The Chilonga villagers argued that the Communal Lands Act denies them the right to self-determination of Africans in Zimbabwe and has no room in post-independent Zimbabwe.

They contended that the Communal Lands Act is a racist and a colonial creature which regards Africans as too uncivilised as to own land and queried how an African can own a house in Harare’s plush suburb of Borrowdale but he cannot own his ancestral home in areas such as Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Dotito, Chendambuya, Nkayi or Tsholotsho.

The handing down of the judgment comes after High Court Judges Justice Joseph Mafusire, Justice Never Katiyo and Chipo Annie-Lucy Mungwari reserved their ruling on Tuesday 12 October 2021 after hearing the Chilonga application.

ENDS

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