After securing bail for the accused in the Chipinge Magistrate’s Court in Manicaland province in eastern Zimbabwe, attorney Lovemore Madhuku reassured The Zimbabwe Mail that “they have not broken any law,” emphasizing that “these lands rightfully belong to them.”
The 312 defendants, who claim the land is customary and belonged to their ancestors are expected to return to court next Tuesday.
Authorities from Chipinge Rural District claim ownership of the approximately 1,000-hectare land parcel and intend to convert it into a residential area.
The Zimbabwean police confirmed the arrest to The Zimbabwe Mail, but did not give further details.
Land ownership issues are common in Zimbabwe, where the government of then-President Robert Mugabe (1987 to 2017) in 2000 expropriated about 4,000 white farmers from the land they had since the colonial period.
Indigenous communities then began to informally occupy the “vacant fields.”
Minister of Lands and Agriculture, Dr. Anxious Masuka, emphasized that individuals settling on state land without legally issued title deeds will not be granted regularization by the government. He further asserted that such individuals will face the full force of the law.Post published in: Agriculture