By Jane Mlambo| National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku is preparing a big legal battle against controversial business tycoon Billy Rautenbach who recently notified Chipinge villagers in Chinyamukwakwa area of his intention to once again grab their remaining piece of communal land to feed his ethanol project.
Madhuku who hails from Chipinge is also fighting for community land rights in three other areas in Chipinge East where villagers are under threat of displacement.
Addressing Chinyamukwakwa villagers last week, Madhuku vowed to make sure the desperate farmers regain their land ahead of the 2020/21 farming season.
“I will make sure that you are able to plant your crops while we work on a long term solution to this dispute,” said Madhuku.
He urged Chinyamukwakwa villagers to fight for what rightfully belongs to them, further challenging the local legislator Enock Porusingazi to show his side in this land battle.
Madhuku said politics would have settled the land battle in question if the national and local leaders were concerned.
“Politics only works to the advantage of the people if leaders side with the people, I have asked questions about Porusingazi, where is he, what is his position on this issue?
“The political route in this battle does not work because the current leadership is not even bothered by this issue, I will go to Mnangagwa but I can tell you that he knows about this issue, no development of this size can run without the knowledge of the president, that is why I said the political route will not work on this particular dispute,” said Madhuku.
The University of Zimbabwe law professor said he will be going to court to challenge Green Fuel’s continued encroachment into communal land.
Former area legislator Meki Makhuyana blasted Porusingazi for standing on the sidelines when vulnerable villagers were losing their land to Green Fuel.
“When this land dispute started, we read it from a political perspective that is why during my time as your Member of Parliament, I worked very hard and even brought top government leaders including Prime Minister Tsvangirai to meet with Chinyamukwakwa villagers, Porusingazi is not doing anything to fight for you,” said Makhuyana.
Green Fuel, the sole producer of ethanol in the country has since 2008 been engaged in a bloody land battle with Chisumbanje and Chinyamukwakwa communities.
Villagers accuse the company of unlawfully encroaching into their communal land. The company is legally entitled to the land previously occupied by ARDA but has clearly stated its intention to expand to 40 000 ha, a move that will displace thousands of villagers who rely on their communal land for survival.