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1 000 villagers to pave way for grass project

by Staff reporter
01 May 2020 at 08:25hrs | Views
OVER 1 000 families in Chiredzi South and East are set to be displaced from their land to pave way for a lucerne production project by private milk producer, Dendairy.

Sources close to the matter revealed that Dendairy was eyeing approximately 10 000 hectares of arable land for the project.

Lurcene grass, also called alfalfa, is used for making hay or animal fodder.

But villagers have allegedly resisted the move, accusing government of neglecting about 3 000 fellow Chiredzi villagers displaced during the expansion of TugwiMukosi Dam and dumped in arid Chingwizi in 2014.

Just before the meeting held outside council offices yesterday, district intelligence officer Joseph Urimbo ordered journalists from NewsDay, TellZim News, The Herald, and an online news agency to leave the venue.

The explosive meeting was attended by Local Government minister July Moyo, Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira, Chiredzi South MP Kalisto Gwanetsa and his Chiredzi East counterpart Denford Masiya.

Only a journalist from ZBC was allowed to cover the proceedings.

Sources later told this paper that the meeting ended in a stalemate after villagers, mainly drawn from Chilonga Irrigation Scheme, vowed to stay put.

"People are afraid that they will be evicted to areas where there is no infrastructure which includes schools and clinics. We are not going to allow that to happen. We have seen that in Chingwizi and Chisumbanje. We cannot let that happen to us. The government was supposed to empower us and let us grow that grass and these white people buy from us," the source said.

Both Moyo and Chadzamira could not be reached for comment after the meeting.

After enduring hardships at Chingwizi Transit Camp, the Tugwi-Mukosi flood victims were later allocated one-hectare plots on a portion of Naunetsi Ranch in the arid Mwenezi district and were compensated as part of the relocation deal.

The ranch is owned by Zimbabwe Bio Energy, a company owned by millionaire businessman Billy Rautenbach who, last year, threatened to kick them out of his property.

In Chisumbanje, several families were moved to pave way for Rautenbach's Green Fuels' ethanol project and some of the displaced villagers are yet to be compensated six years later.

Source - newsday

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