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Villagers resist eviction for city expansion





PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa's ally and Masvingo district development co-ordinator (DCC) Ray Hove was on Saturday reportedly booed by over 300 resettled farmers who refused to be forcibly evicted from Clipsham Farm to pave way for expansion of the city.

According to human rights lobby group, Masvingo Centre for Research, Advocacy and Development (MACRAD), Hove, who stood in for Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira, had to leave in a huff as the villagers turned rowdy.

"Mr Ray Hove was booed and humiliated after announcing that the State is going to allocate 100 hectares of land to developers for Masvingo city expansion. Mr Hove did not finish his speech as residents interjected and started to sing revolutionary songs. Mr Hove was rescued and escorted to his car by local elders," MACRAD said.

The residents said they would continue resisting attempts to kick them out.

MACRAD has been siding with the villagers to stop the arbitrary evictions.

"MACRAD submits that if at all the government is to evict people without land certificates or offer letters, it should do so after obtaining a court order," the organisation said.

"Not to be forgotten is the fact that almost all Clipsham residents have been paying tax through Masvingo Rural District Council. Rural district councils are government agencies. It can, therefore, never be argued that those Clipsham residents without court orders are illegal settlers."

"Any person that is evacuated to prevent harm must be provided with secure and decent alternative housing," the lobby group said.

"Besides the right to freedom from arbitrary eviction and the right to administrative justice, there are several rights, which can be violated if due process is not followed in implementing the proposed evictions. These include the right to shelter, the right to agricultural land and the right to food and water."

Both Chadzamira and Hove were unreachable for comment yesterday.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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