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Chilonga evictions: MDC Alliance youth say ED cares more about grass than people

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

The opposition MDC Alliance Youth Assembly has condemned as “anti-people” a plan by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to evict more than 12 000 people of Shangaan origin from their ancestral land to pave way for a Lucerne grass/Alfalfa project by Dendairy.

Vice President, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Vice President, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa

In a statement, MDC Alliance youth spokesperson Stephen Sarkozy Chuma said the move was “anti-people” adding that the “latest new low by the regime simply shows that Mnangagwa cares more for grass than the people he purports to represent or lead.”

“MDC Alliance Youth Assembly condemns in strongest terms the senseless and heartless capitalistic move by Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime to evict more than 12 000 people of Shangaan origin from their ancestral land,” he said.

“In this anti-people agenda, the regime is evicting citizens to pave way for a lucerne grass/alfalfa project by Dendairy- a company owned by Mnangagwa’s friends.

“Armed with a rotten piece of legislation, the Communal Lands Act, Mnangagwa’s blue eyed boy, July Moyo is evicting Chilonga residents from their ancestral lands for years to pursue crude capitalistic interests.”

Last year, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga hinted that Chilonga villagers would be evicted and relocated when the coronavirus crisis ended.

“We need to create a better future for our grandchildren as we are not going to live forever. I heard Chilonga Irrigation Scheme last functioned in 2016, so we suggested it should be operational before Heroes’ Day in August.

“We know that after the end of war or a major pandemic like COVID- 19, it is usually followed by a nationwide famine. So we need to open up a huge piece of land to an investor who is coming, but that will be done in consultation with our community leaders,” Chiwenga said.

Chuma added that Mnangagwa claimed to be a veteran of the liberation struggle hence he “must always remember that the liberation legacy was about addressing the land question.”

“Mnangagwa must be reminded that our defiance as a people has always been centred on the land question, protecting gains and completion of the unfinished business of the liberation agenda.

“At the centre of that agenda is people power and people’s interests first!

“Anything else that fronts selfish personal interests against the people’s share of national cake is provocation and calls for defiance.

“It is disturbing that successive dictators that took charge of the affairs of our country since the Ian Smith era have this provocative syndrome to dare citizens by removing them from their ancestral lands for years.

“In the 1970s, colonial dictator Ian Douglas Smith stripped the Tangwena people of their Garaesi traditional land, but as always people power reigned supreme.

“Remember Grace Mugabe, wife to the late dictator, Robert Mugabe!

“Armed with imagined power of his husband’s invincibility, Grace led the evictions of people from Manzou farm for a parochial and petty zebras project at the expense of the people.

“As always, people defied and people power reigned supreme.

“Fronting the criminal Billy Rautenbach, the same Mnangagwa regime is in another tug of war with the Chipinge community over a bio-energy project that is set to displace thousands from their traditional land.

“It is daring that in this day and age, Emmerson Mnangagwa again wants to drag us on this path of stripping people of their traditional land at the expense of petty selfish interests.

“What is unmistakable from the Chilonga evictions is the regime’s patronizing and belittling attitude towards minority groups.

“It is clear that after wreaking havoc in urban and town councils, Mnangagwa’s regime is now misdirecting their energies in destroying the rural social fabric which is closely attached to land.

“Rural areas remain a doyen of our cultural heritage and the sentimental value of land goes beyond its economic value as there is traditional significance attached to it.

“In this regard evicting citizens from their traditional land is akin to uprooting their cultural roots and economically stripping them naked.

“For a man of color, Mnangagwa is behaving worse than Ian Smith and risks suffering the same fate as the latter,” Chuma added. Nehanda Radio