The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has moved to stop the eviction of 390 villagers in Mutasa, Manicaland province who have been ordered to leave Chidazembe Farm by the government.
The Ministry of Lands wrote a letter dated March 29, notifying the settlers that their stay on the farm is illegal and had 7 days to vacate the property. The letter reads:
You are hereby given seven days’ notice to vacate Chidazembe Farm in Mutasa district in Manicaland province.
You are violating section 3 of Gazetted Land Act Chapter 20:28, Gazetted Land Act, in that you are occupying the said property without lawful authority.
You are hereby given an eviction notice to vacate the property, failure to vacate before this date will result in your arrest and prosecution.
Meanwhile, ZLHR on Wednesday wrote to the Ministry of Lands arguing that the settlers had no alternative accommodation. ZLHR member, Peggy Tavagadza said:
We write at the instance of our clients, a total of 390 people (90 female adults, 91 male adults and 209 juveniles), whose names are annexed to this letter, kindly note our legal interest.
That on March 29, 2019, officials from your ministry served our clients with a notice of eviction that our clients were duly allocated these pieces of land by the traditional leadership in terms of the Traditional Leaders Act.
They have built houses and they have minor children who cannot soldier the harsh winter. The State despite the demand of request for offer letters has either failed or neglected to provide them with the security of tenure.
… That our clients have nowhere to go, they do not have an alternative accommodation as such the move by the ministry would reduce them to vagrants which we submit is against the spirit of the new Constitution.