Villagers from Chinyamukwakwa and Chisumbanje villages in Chipinge have roped in National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku in their fight against ethanol producing company, Green Fuel which recently notified them of its intention to encroach into their communal farming land.
The villagers accused Green Fuel of shortchanging them each farming season by continuously encroaching into their communal land under the pretense of project expansion.
Speaking at a community meeting that was attended by Prof Madhuku recently, villagers called for a united front in order to rein in on the company.
“Politically we have failed to resolve this crisis and I need to apologise to villagers. We are stronger when we are united and I am appealing to Professor Madhuku to legally assist us in resolving this crisis because politically we have failed,” said Meki Makuyana former Chipinge South legislator.
Headman Robert Chinyamukwakwa welcomed the move to approach the courts saying Green Fuel had failed the community by not fulfilling its promises.
“You (Prof Madhuku) have been sent by the spirit of the liberation struggle. Do your best and we will give you support. We have had this conflict with Green Fuel for long and we cannot allow it to continue. Assist us in protecting our boundary. They have not fulfilled their promise to the community,” said Headman Chinyamukwakwa.
Speaking during a community engagement meeting, Professor Madhuku promised to approach the court to fight for the desperate villagers right to their pieces of land now threatened by Green Fuel.
He said he will take advantage of being in the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) to talk to President Emmerson Mnangagwa about this issue.
“I will go to Mnangagwa but I can tell you that he knows about this issue, no development of this size can run without the knowledge of the president, that is why I said the political route will not work on this particular dispute,” said Madhuku.
Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD) director, Claris Madhuku said they are convinced that Green Fuel is taking the community for granted.
“The decade long conflict has always been about boundary, we are convinced Green Fuel is taking the community for granted by not seeking to work honestly with informed key stakeholders of the community.
“They have been avoiding informed members of the community who can give lasting solutions opting for weaker and vulnerable players who are mainly from the ruling party. We have opted to seek the legal route because we understand that such disputes need dialogue,” Madhuku said
Madhuku said dialogue cannot be achieved because of the company’s ‘big brother’ mentality.
“The company has been supported by the ruling party and dialogue cannot be achieved because of their big brother mentality. They have captured the political elites who have blocked genuine solution based dialogue. Therefore it leaves us with no option but to seek the legal route.” he said.