Land Barons Push For The Transformation Of Checheche Growth Point
2 July 2024
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By Municipal Reporter- Politically connected business people in Manicaland’s Checheche growth point in Chipinge are advocating for the premature transformation of the area into a town, aiming to seize land and exploit desperate home seekers.

These well-known land barons are pressuring the Chipinge Rural District Council to expedite this process.

This issue surfaced at a stakeholders’ meeting last Friday, where various parties gathered to discuss the growth point’s potential town status.

Checheche attained growth point status in 1982 and has been under the spotlight since 2009 when Greenfuel Pvt Ltd, an ethanol-producing company, established operations in Chipinge.

This company has been in conflict with local residents, displacing them from their ancestral land without proper consultation.

The push for Checheche’s transformation into a town by key stakeholders has been met with mixed reactions.

One community member who attended the meeting reported that well-known politicians and businesspeople with dubious characters are attempting to bribe authorities to hasten the transformation process.

“These premature announcements are being made to inflate land prices and affect taxing processes during service delivery,” said the community leader, who requested anonymity for fear of political victimisation.

A local youth empowerment organisation, the Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD), which has been advocating for the rights of locals for the past one and a half decades, said that while they understand the benefits of Checheche becoming a town, the transformation process must be transparent and expedient.

PYCD said that local villagers must be properly consulted and compensated to ensure their cooperation and support for the expansion.

PYCD director Claris Madhuku said, “Granting town status is a process rather than an event. Stakeholders are advised to be patient and ensure that all due diligence processes are followed. The last push for this status was hindered by external forces misrepresenting the economic status and opportunities of the growth point. Misrepresenting the population and land area of Checheche does not help; it led to unnecessarily expensive stands due to speculation. When Checheche becomes a town, it must benefit the natives, not create a situation where locals are disqualified in favor of those with money who monopolise economic and business opportunities.”

Madhuku highlighted the pending disputes involving Mahachi villagers and other individuals whose status the town may displace.
“These issues must be clarified and resolved so that the town status improves rather than impoverishes and ostracises the intended beneficiaries. The town status is welcome, but it must not be hurried and driven by the wrong interests.”