MUTARE High Court judge Justice Jester Helena Charewa has interdicted the Chipinge Rural District Council (CRDC) from expropriating communal land belonging to hundreds of Chipinge villagers.
CRDC had plans to urbanise Kondo communal lands without following due process.
The villagers, represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), filed an application at the Mutare High Court on May 16, 2022 seeking an order to stop the violation of their constitutional rights.
The other rights that were violated are the right to administrative justice and the right to information, which are guaranteed in the Constitution.
This was after some CRDC officials, accompanied by personnel from the Department of Physical Planning carried out surveys in the area.
ZLHR yesterday said the dispute started in November 2021, when the CRDC began surveying and pegging residential stands in Kondo communal lands in Chipinge without informing villagers about the process of urbanising the area.
In the application, filed by Tariro Tazvitya of ZLHR, the villagers argued that CRDC had not consulted them before undertaking the urbanisation programme, hence their concerns had not been considered in violation of the provisions of the Communal Lands Act.
The villagers argued that urbanisation of their land will reduce the size of the land they are currently occupying. They asked the High Court to halt the process.
The Kondo villagers said that they inhabited the area a long time ago and carried out subsistence farming as a source of livelihood, and hence it would be cumbersome to survive in an urban set-up because they had no capacity or the means to cope with urban life.
In response to the villagers’ application, Justice Charewa interdicted CRDC from urbanising the communal lands without following due process.