ZLHR stops expropriation of villagers’ communal land

HIGH Court Judge Justice Jester Helena Charewa has stopped Chipinge Rural District Council (CRDC) from expropriating communal land belonging to some Chipinge villagers by interdicting the local authority from urbanising Kondo Communal Lands without following due process.

The villagers resorted to instituting legal action by filing an
application at Mutare High Court on 16 May 2022 seeking an order to
stop the violation of several of their constitutional rights including
their right to property, their right to administrative justice and
their right to information all guaranteed in the Constitution after
some CRDC officials accompanied by those from the Department of
Physical Planning, in November and December 2021, began surveying and
pegging residential stands in Kondo Communal Lands in Chipinge without
informing them about the process of urbanising the area.

In the application, which was filed by Tariro Tazvitya of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, the villagers argued that CRDC had not
consulted them before undertaking the urbanisation process and hence
their concerns had not been considered in violation of the provisions
of the Communal Lands Act, which stipulates the procedure in terms of
which the urbanisation process must be done.

The villagers argued that urbanisation of their land has the effect of
reducing the size of the land which they are in occupation of and
asked the High Court to halt the process.

The Kondo villagers stated that they have inhabited Kondo Communal
Lands since time immemorial, where they lead a communal way of life
and rely on and carry out subsistence farming as a source of
livelihood and hence it would be cumbersome to survive in an urban
setup as they have no capacity or the means to cope with the urban way
of life.

In response to the villagers’ application, Justice Charewa recently
interdicted CRDC from urbanising Kondo Communal Lands without
following due process.

Post published in: Agriculture

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