Lawyers stop arbitrary eviction of Nemaire villagers

MUTARE High Court Judge Justice Isaac Muzenda has stopped the
arbitrary eviction of families of five villagers including the
demolition of their homesteads after prohibiting Makoni Rural District
Council from interfering with their settlement.

The villagers, who are unemployed and are subsistence farmers, settled
in Nemaire Village 24 in Makoni District in Manicaland province in
2011, where they built their homesteads and are all descendants of
former farm workers having become homeless after Bingaguru Farm was
compulsorily acquired by government.

The villagers namely Milton Juma, Joshua Msindo, Angeline Mariko,
Markington Mupazi and Tinashe Mushamaenza sought land in Nemaire
village and were given some plots and integrated into the village by
Village Head Amandos Kariyo with the consent of Chief Makoni in terms
of the Traditional Leaders Act.

But authorities at Makoni Rural District Council who entered into a
partnership with Sports Leaders Institute of Zimbabwe sought to evict
them from their homesteads as it intended to erect a boundary fence
and a fireguard and accused them of illegally settling themselves in
the area.

This compelled Juma, Msindo, Mariko, Mupazi and Mushamaenza, who were assisted by Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, to file an urgent chamber application at Mutare High Court where they
protested against the actions of Makoni Rural District Council in
seeking to deprive them of shelter.

In his ruling, Justice Muzenda, said Makoni Rural District Council
should be a law abiding local authority and prohibited it from
evicting the five villagers and not to demolish their homes without
obtaining a valid court order.