Below is a full Twitter thread by MDC Alliance co-vice president and Harare East MP Tendai Biti on his visit to the Chilonga area in Chiredzi District.
We have spent a few days in the Chiredzi #Chilonga area visiting & listening to compatriots in Chiredzi South & East. We have met with ordinary citizens, community leaders & traditional leaders who have travelled huge distances to places such as Chikombedzi, Malipati Boli, Gonarezhou.
We have seen & heard from a tortured, insecure & angry citizen in the Shangani communities so dominant in this part of the Lowveld. This is a community that has suffered displacements twice before. In the 60s they were removed from the Hippo Valley area to make way for sugar estates.
They were then ejected to pave way for huge eco reserves, Gona Rezhou National Park & Malilangwe Reserve. They subsequently rebuilt their lives in South Eastern Lowveld in areas mulcted by the tsetse fly, high temperatures, wild animals, poverty & infrastructure deficits.
Years of alienation isolation exclusion & reification make these communities feel like outsiders. Without access in some cases to Zim services such as radio, mobile networks gas stations never mind jobs hospitals & schools there is a greater connection with Mozambique & South Africa.
The #Chilonga displacements are thus the ultimate invasion & insult on these communities. They have been told 12500 will be ejected & 9000 hectares taken under phase one. When Phase 2 & 3 are completed a massive 21 000 hectares of their land would have been confiscated.
For a community that participated in the liberation struggle, they don’t understand why they should be ejected for only their land to be given to one white man. They already do contract farming for Delta & they can’t understand why they can’t contract farm #lucerne for the white man.
In view of masses of pieces of underutilized agricultural land dotted in their region, they didn’t understand why the same land is not being used for the #lucerne project. They don’t understand why cattle grass has become more important than people or the small grains they produce.
They strongly feel that that they are victims not just of greed & avarice but also of tribal rejection as an ethnic minority. They know that the regime has in 41 years been cruel & extractive against ethnic minorities. They have suffered displacements, genocide & exclusion.