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Stop Bypassing Good Governance Protocols: ZPP

Human rights pressure group, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has called on the Government to stop the use Statutory Instruments (SI) to bypass good governance protocols.

The call comes at a time the Government gazetted SI 50 of 2021 which will displaces more than 12 000 Chilonga villagers in Chiredzi to pave way for the Lucerne grass project.

In a statement, ZPP national director Jestina Mukoko said a year ago the government announced that it had engaged a private investor to grow Lucerne grass that will benefits the local community and nothing was said about evictions.

“Local government minister July Moyo, who was acting as the Lands and Agriculture minister at the time, was quoted by the State media saying the development would boost livestock production in the Lowveld and earn the country foreign currency.

“At that time, nothing was said about evicting the local villagers and farmers from the land to pave way for the project. A year later, government has gazetted, as has become a worrying trend, a Statutory Instrument 50 of 2021 allowing the relocation of about 12000 people from Chilonga to pave way for the Lucerne grass project,” said Mukoko.

She called on for the suspension of Statutory Instrument 50 of 2021 as it fails to protect  livelihoods of the affected villagers.

“Since 2017, government has conveniently by-passed good governance protocols by enacting Statutory Instruments, thereby usurping the role of Parliament in scrutinizing policies and laws and this latest move, which is likely to result in over 12000 being internally displaced, is just another example.

“Worryingly, government – which has clearly reneged from its promise that the project would benefit local farmers and boost their livestock production – has issued the eviction order without offering the victims alternative shelter and sources of livelihood.

“In that respect, the Zimbabwe Peace Project calls on government to immediately suspend Statutory Instrument 50 of 2021 as it flies in the protecting the livelihoods of the 12 000 affected villagers. On another level this SI 50 of 2021 is evil and deserves to be suspended.” she said.

Mukoko added “No government that cares about its citizens would subject them to such treatment. This is because any investment that affects the livelihoods of people defeats the purpose, or rather becomes just another feeding trough for the elite, at the expense of the poor villagers who use natural resources to sustain themselves.

“It is clear that Zimbabwe has huge tracts of underutilized land that can be used for such investments such as the Lucerne project and as such, there is no need to target land that is occupied and is being rightfully utilized. If at all, government can build the capacity of the current communal farmers without evicting them as intended.

“Therefore, by suspending the Statutory Instrument, government can allow for a constructive conversation on a win-win rural development strategy, taking into account the conflict that arises over the division between communal and commercial land. The suspension of SI 50 of 2021 will foster inclusive rural development, where communities can take ownership of any developments that happen on their land.”

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