Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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Buffalo Range displacements: Residents live in fear

Emmaculate Mutonhori \ Rumbidzwai Muswera

CHIREDZI – Villagers in the Buffalo Range resettlement scheme in ward 29, Chiredzi North are currently living in fear of displacements as government is spearheading a 3000-hectare community irrigation scheme aimed at boosting wheat production in Zimbabwe.
The project is designed to benefit from the abundant water sources in Masvingo province.
Unlike government proposal to give a private contractor land to grow Lucerne in the Chilonga communal lands, the wheat production scheme on a massive scale of 3000 hectares is getting top priority.
It has been established that hundreds of families are likely to be displaced in that resettlement area without compensation, as they do not hold any title to the land in question.
White Munyenge, a Zanu PF Chiredzi North constituency aspirant who resides in ward 29 expressed bitterness over the project citing that villagers stand to lose and benefit nothing from the project since they do not own any land permits.
“We are not against the development which is being initiated by government but we have our fears that the government may not keep its promise of compensating us, rather we are calling for a written document with a signature from the District Administrator, Lands department and community leadership of the agreement of compensation from the government since we do not have land permits,” said Munyenge.
Ward 29 councilor, Kizwell Muvengi indicated that the irrigation scheme is a project aims at benefitting communities in wards 16, 27 and 29.
“This is a government funded project for the community and it is a pilot project which covers about 3000 hectares.
“Ward 29 villagers are going to benefit from this project and as promised by Minister of Agriculture, Honorable Masuku, the displaced people will be fully compensated and will be well taken care off,” said Muvengi.
A similar case happened in 2011 and 2012 when villagers of ward 29 were evicted from an area around Buffalo range airport by the government at district level in what was described as a crash programme but they received no compensation.
Efforts to contact Chiredzi North Member of Parliament Roy Bhila did not yield results as his cellphone went unanswered several times.
However Masvingo Provincial Development Coordinator Dr Jefter Sakupwapwanya denied such allegations saying government champions development.
“Government has proper planning for settlements where houses and fields are organized and people are given letters.
“President wants people to focus on development but people do not see that,” said Sakupanya.

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