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Govt Reverses Chilonga Eviction Law, Designates Land For Irrigation

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By Anna Chibamu


GOVERMENT this week withdrew Statutory Instrument (SI) 50 and replaced it with new legislation that will see over 12 000 hectares of communal land in Chilonga turned into an irrigation scheme.

The earlier notice to the villagers to vacate their ancestral land caused public outcry resulting in government being forced to repeal the SI.

The repeal will allow the Chilonga community to remain on its land which had initially been earmarked for a giant lucerne grass project.

Government’s withdrawal of SI 50 replacing it with SI 72A of 2021 will see the area being turned into an irrigation scheme.

Read SI 72A/2021, “…The area of land described hereunder in terms of the Schedule shall be set aside with effect from the date of publication of this notice for the purpose of establishing an irrigation scheme.

“The Communal Land (Setting Aside of Land) (Chiredzi) Notice, 2021, published in Statutory Instrument 50 of 2021, is repealed.”

SI 50 of 2021 legalised the eviction of Chilonga people from their communal land.

The now repealed legislation would have seen the native Shangaan population occupying the area being forced to vacate the communal land for the fourth time since 1960.

In the latest Gazette by government, the Sl 72 A of 2021 will give Chilonga villagers temporary relief to remain on the land at least for a while as the irrigation scheme will still result in some form of displacements.

Prominent constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku on Thursday described government’s moves as unconstitutional and urged Zimbabweans to do away with oppressive laws.