Chipinge villagers sue Greenfuel to stop seizure of communal land

By Staff Writer

VILLAGERS in Chipinge, Manicaland province have dragged ethanol
producer, GreenFuel to court to stop it from occupying their communal
land and interfering with their farming activities.

Represented by Passmore Nyakureba and Blessing Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, the villagers together with Platform for
Youth Development petitioned the High Court on Monday 10 December 2018
seeking an order restraining GreenFuel from depriving them access to
their communal land and stopping the ethanol producer from destroying
their crops.

In the urgent chamber application, the villagers argued that GreenFuel
unlawfully invaded Magokova communal land in Chisumbanje, Chipinge,
Manicaland province intending to expand its sugarcane farming

The land, which they have had use of from the colonial times through
inheritance from their parents, the villagers argued, is currently
used by 138 families for agricultural purposes, where they grow cotton
as their sole cash crop and maize for subsistence purposes.

Their concern came after GreenFuel started barring them from either
tilling their fields, tendering their germinated crops and from total
access at all.

The villagers argued that GreenFuel had done so without securing a
court order barring them access to their fields and neither has the
use of land been changed from communal land to commercial land by the
responsible authority to the knowledge of the villagers.
In addition, GreenFuel has set armed security guards and dogs to ward
off the villagers from accessing their fields in Magokova communal
lands, of which farming is the only economic activity sustaining their

GreenFuel’s conduct, the villagers argued violates several of their
fundamental rights, specifically the right to agricultural land as
guaranteed under section 72 of the Constitution, the right to food as
guaranteed under section 77 of the Constitution, the right to
property as provided for under section 71 of the Constitution, the
right to equal protection of the law as guaranteed under section 56 of
the Constitution and above all it is a violation of the founding
principles and the national objectives of the people of Zimbabwe
entrenched in the Constitution.

The urgent chamber application will be heard and determined by Justice
Hlekani Mwayera on Thursday 13 December 2018 at 3:30 PM.