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Wednesday, July 17, 2024
HomePress ReleaseChisumbanje villagers cry foul over the impounding of cattle by Green fuel

Chisumbanje villagers cry foul over the impounding of cattle by Green fuel

The boundary dispute between villagers in Chisumbanje and Green fuel has once again come on the spot light. Villagers are crying foul that their cattle are being impounded for trespassing despite the fact that there is no boundary clarification since the land dispute started in 2009.

The absence of formal platforms for dialogue has also further divided stakeholders on whether to continue with failed engagement or start confrontations with Green fuel.Chisumbanje police station is not helping matters as villagers allege that local police and Green fuel security guards are the biggest beneficiaries of the vicious cycle of sour relations experienced between the investor and villagers.

Starting early September 2015, Green fuel has sponsored a programme that impounds stray cattle to stop them from trespassing into the sugarcane fields. Cattle seen within 150 m from Green fuel canals and sugarcane fields are locked up and owners fined $4 a day for a single cattle. Implementation of this programme has been problematic if not chaotic due to the absence of a clear boundary and clarity on what constitutes trespassing. The involvement of council and a section of traditional leadership have been carefully roped in to protect the interests of Green fuel while heavily taxing the community.

 Naison Mudhluli takes his impounded cattle home after paying a fine of $56

Naison Mudhluli takes his impounded cattle home after paying a fine of $56

 

Temperatures are rising with villagers accusing Green fuel of literally punishing them for owning cattle. Most villagers who have confided in Platform for Youth Development believes this plan was a ploy by Green fuel to pay their security guards from the  proceeds received from the fines charged.

Naison Mudhluli of Machona  village provided us with a receipt where he had paid $56 for his 8 cattle held over two days(11-13 September 2015) .He was unable to pay for two calves that the guards demanded were supposed to be paid for despite age.

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Naison’s  case is very touching because he had to borrow from relatives after exhausting his savings. Getting a dollar nowadays is not easy as the economic situation has become biting on many average families who are now affording only one meal a day.

The plight of villagers goes to the extent of revealing that the kraals where the impounded cattle are kept has no feeds making it a concern for those  cattle  captured for more than one day.Taurai Mubhongo (33) of Mutumburi village was in tears as she narrated her ordeal at the hands of Green fuel security guards manning the Kraals.

Taurai Mubhongo paid $12 instead of $24 for her two cattle that had been locked for three days from the 4th of September 2015.What makes Taurai Mubhongo’s case interesting is the fact that one of her cattle locked by the security guards is missing. She has since reported the case of her missing cattle at Chisumbanje police station on the 11th of September 2015 but did not get the deserved attention on the matter.Taurai Mubhongo who is a mother of three believes that the police are not willing to pursue her case due to the collusion between Green fuel security guards and police at Chisumbanje

This is a case to confirm that boundary issues remain sticky and a threat to co existence between Green fuel and the community at large. Majority of members whose cattle were held for trespassing are worried that the idea of impounding is neither a solution nor a properly consulted approach. The idea of impounding cattle was tried between 2010 and 2012 and failed. Then, one cattle was charged $10 per day and this caused pandemonium and serious divisions muddled with underhand dealings between security guards and criminal activities found in the local community.

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Re introducing a failed programme indicates that Green fuel does not respect wider consultations but their own economic interests to protect their sugarcane. A villager from Muyondozi village, Wallen Khumbuyani also accuse some elements within the community who owns no cattle but supports the impounding of cattle as a selfish way of dealing with their own differences with individuals with cattle.Khumbuyani revealed a case in which a known villager who has always lost the mandate to represent the community was spotted driving cattle of a neighbor to the sugarcane as a way of ensuring that the cattle are impounded to fix.  Green fuel officials are guilt for continuing to implement a programme that encourages so much hate and division in the community.

Green fuel security guards claim that the demand for sugarcane has been high therefore impounding cattle was a way of discouraging head boys from coming close to the sugarcane fields. Due to shortage of grazing space and feeds most areas in Chipinge South converge along Jerawachera River and Magokova area where they camp for weeks in turns. Green fuel alleges that these herd boys drive their cattle close to the canals as a way to then sneak into the sugarcane fields.

Platform for Youth Development would want the programme of impounding cattle to be reviewed with a more representative stakeholder involvement. There has been allegations to the effect that the money paid for fine is also being shared with the paramount Chief Garahwa.

Press Release by Platform for Youth Development

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