By- Over 3000 villagers who benefited from the land reform are facing eviction from a Chegutu farm by the government.
According to reports, the government wants these farmers to pave the way for a platinum mining project the government intends to embark on.
The Zimbabwe Land and Agrarian Network (ZiLAN) has since urged the government to respect the land rights of the beneficiaries of the land reform programme.
In a statement on Tuesday, ZiLAN called on the government to consult the farmers and agree on appropriate compensation measures with them before they are relocated. Said the group:
The Zimbabwe Land and Agrarian Network (ZiLAN), in its traditional Annual Policy meeting held on the 24th of November 2022, deliberated on various policy issues and their implications on smallholder farmers.
As a network working with smallholder farmers in pursuit of land rights and the advancement of socio-economic status noted a disturbing trend of threats of evictions and /or actual evictions of smallholder farmers in communal and resettlement areas to pave way for investments in various forms.
Information received from smallholder farmers across the country points out that in most cases the affected communities are excluded or inadequately consulted while in some cases farmers have been displaced without receiving commensurate compensation.
… From our ongoing engagements with key stakeholders involved, the community in question has not been adequately consulted with regard to the development.
As we monitor the situation closely, it is our firm belief that this development infringes on the fundamental rights and freedoms of people as set out in Section 72 of the Zimbabwe Constitution.
While cognisant of the fact that development will always result in the inevitable loss of land by communities, the network calls for the following to ensure that the land rights of people are protected and upheld; we therefore implore that; due diligence, due process, transparency and accountability be followed in all land matters that have the potential to affect livelihoods.
… In cases of eviction, compensation should be agreed on and honored through inclusive processes for the benefit of all parties concerned.
Respect for people’s cultural and spiritual practices be upheld.
Compensation should not only be about resettlement but restitution.