By Kenneth Matimaire
Chisumbanje, June 20, 2016 – TENSION is high in Manicaland’s Chisumbanje area following the shooting of three villagers by Green Fuel security guards resulting in the death of one of them.
The incident, which happened last Thursday, has added fuel to bitter relations between owners of the ethanol project and villagers who are demanding justice while some want the firm to be shut down completely.
Itai Chikwasha Matevera reportedly died of a gunshot on his chest while two others, Jairos Simango Mapopo and Mavis Nyamunda sustained severe wounds from the gunshots on the upper nose and palm, respectively.
The two have since been discharged from St Peters Mission Hospital where they were receiving treatment while the deceased’s funeral is underway.
The security guard has been identified as one Shumba, also a retired soldier.
It could not be readily established as to what the villagers were doing when the incident happened.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Luxson Chananda said he was yet to be briefed about the incident by his colleagues in Chisumbanje.
However, Chipinge South legislator Enock Porusingazi confirmed the development, which he described as “unfortunate and an act of lawlessness”.
Green Fuel official, Nicole Rautenbach said all inquiries regarding the matter were being handled by the police.
“I have been informed that all queries are being referred to the police who are handling the matter. It is still under investigations but nevertheless just send me the questions and I will forward them to someone at work,” she said.
Chisumbanje villagers who spoke to RadioVOP condemned the attacks.
Memory Zvinongoza, a relative of the deceased, said they are still trying to come to terms with the death of Mapopo.
“It’s really painful to think that Itai was killed under such circumstances. It pains me to think that he has left his wife and two children. How could the guards do such a thing to someone who occasionally worked as a contract labourer for the same company,” said Zvinongoza.
Green Fuel is a partnership between state-owned Agricultural Development Authority (Arda) and Macdom and Ratings Investment owned by business tycoon Billy Rautenbach.
Platform for Youth Development (PYD) – an organisation that has been representing the interests of the villagers against the firm – confirmed that tension in high in Chisumbanje as villagers are bitter over the gruesome incident.
PYD founder Claris Madhuku, advised Green Fuel to engage the villagers and warned the latter against using unlawful means to table their grievances.