The slogan, written in Shona, translates as, “No need to fear; the property is ours”.
Villagers, who have been fighting with Green Fuel for four years over land ownership, view the message as arrogant.
“We have been involved in a land dispute with the company for four years now. This is their way of saying that we have no power over our land which they want at every cost,” said Tinashe Chamisa, one of the villagers.
The villagers lost hectares of land to the Green Fuel ethanol-making project that is now in limbo because it cannot sell its product.
Relations between Chisumbanje villagers and Green Fuel have been sour since 2008 when the company took over the reins at the estate previously occupied by Arda. The company encroached on more than 30 000 hectares of community land, setting the stage for a battle that has sucked in senior Zanu (PF) and government officials including Joseph Made, Didymus Mutasa and Enock Porusingazi.
The villagers are demanding the return of sizeable plots of land for farming purposes, but Green Fuel is not letting up.
A village head in Chisumbanje, who refused to be named, said he was surprised by the company’s action which he said was disrespectful.
“For years now we have been engaged in talks with the company and why it saw it fit to disrespect us is best known to Green Fuel itself,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Green Fuels Communications Officer, Lillian Muungani, were fruitless.Post published in: Environment