Villagers block Zanu (PF) bid to hijack DEPIC

The villagers here rose above partisan politics during election of the District Ethanol Plant Implementation Committee representatives when the ten villages affected by the Chisumbanje Ethanol project, unanimously rejected Zanu (PF’s) bid to impose a pair of controversial and divisive war veterans to join the committee last Saturday.

Re-elected DEPIC spokesperson Claris Madhuku.
Re-elected DEPIC spokesperson Claris Madhuku.

The proposal, which was being sponsored by Chipinge South Member of Parliament Enock Porusingazi, found no takers as the community re-elected the old committee.

Chipinge South war-veterans chairperson Phillimon Maphosa and Ward 26 councillor Misheck Busangavanje allegedly threatened innocent voters villagers for not voting them into the committee.

Busangavanje revealed that he was under instruction from a higher office – that of Enock Porusingazi – to deal with DEPIC spokeperson Claris Madhuku and committee member Wedzerai Gwenzi, who were meant to be ousted during the elections.

Busungavanje said the two were wanted out of DEPIC because the Chisumbanje Ethanol plant was a Zanu (PF). Despite the threats, Headman Forichi Chisumbanje, who was given the mandate by Chipinge District Administrator Edgar Seenza to conduct elections, convened all his10 villages to exercise

their right to vote freely.

The villagers unanimously endorsed Madhuku and Gwenzi to be their representatives at DEPIC meetings and condemned Porusingazi for reneging on his promise to work with the community in getting beneficiation from the project.

Most of those who spoke accused the proposed candidates from Zanu (PF) as outsiders to the community who were only interested in enriching themselves by defrauding the unsuspecting investor.

“Elections for community representatives were done last year in November. There is no need to be confused by the agenda of a few power hungry war veterans sponsored by political players who are controversial and only good at sloganeering,” fumed Bothwell Zito of Muyondozi village.

Madhuku, who heads the Platform for Youth Development, an organisation that has been at the centre of this dispute since 2010, expressed satisfaction at the confidence shown by the villagers in his role.

“I feel energised that the community has spoken beyond partisan and narrow agendas. I will use this mandate to be very effective during DEPIC meetings. Unlike some stakeholders who represents themselves, I am privileged to represent a very organised and expectant community,” said Madhuku.

DEPIC is a committee set up to represent Chisumbanje villagers in dealings with Green Fuels, which owns the Chisumbanje ethanol plant, and ensure that their interests are respected.

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