Court Grants Interim Order Barring Chilonga Evictions

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MASVINGO – The government’s move to evict more than 12 000 Chilonga villagers to pave way for Dendairy’s lucerne project has hit a temporary snag after an interim court order was granted barring the evictions.

Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN), and the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) took the government to court and won the temporary relief on behalf of the villagers.

This follows a public outcry over the potential evictions to make way for the Kwekwe-based dairy company to set up its grass project for stock feed.

In the court papers, Local Government minister July Moyo, Chiredzi Rural District Council and the Chiredzi District Administrator are cited as the respondents.

CNRG said the evictions contravened Section 74 of the Constitution.

The cited section reads: No person may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) filed two applications simultaneously at the Masvingo High Court on behalf of the Masvingo Centre for Research Advocacy and Community Development Trust (MACRAD Trust) and one Livson Chikutu seeking to stop the evictions.

Dendairy is said to be eyeing approximately 10 000 hectares of arable land in the area for the project.

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