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Rusape Grazing Land Wrangle Escalates to Parliament

By Shingirai Vambe

RUSAPE man recently broke into tears for paying unjustified fines to Environmental Management Agency as a punitive measure for refusing to move away from their grazing area.

Joseph Matsika of Osborne Village, Rusape appeared before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement together with Neddy warombo and two others in response to the petition they wrote to Parliament.

The quartet told Parliament that they no longer have a grazing area for their livestock after an Agritex officer, Fungai Nyakuwika together with the Councilor, Angela Chitsike forcefully pegged the grazing area to accommodate other people.
Matsika said the two came to them claiming it was a directive coming from the president’s office that they should peg extra plots for new settlers.

He added, that the matter was taken to the lands officer, Phibion Chitida who confirmed the development but he was not engaged in the pegging as the lands officer.

“After the relocation from Osborne, during the construction of the dam in 1991 to Makoni Central, Nyahukwe resettlement scheme, a total of 18 families were give 5ha/12acres pieces of land each and the remainder was left as a grazing area for villagers,” said Matsika.

“After approaching several offices, seeking recourse, we decided to write to parliament because we noted there wasn’t much assistance from either of the offices, instead Makoni Rural District Council issued new settlers with permits to reside in our grazing area, “added Matsika.

During his submission Matsika uncontrollably broke into tears telling Parliament their daily ordeals with officers from EMA, the Councillor and the Agritex officer.

The Post On Sunday has in possession a letter written and singed by Fungai Nyakuwika and a permit issued by Makoni Rural District Council signed by the Chief Executive Officer Edward Pise and Past-tense Tarondwa who was the acting District Administrator.

Parliament however questioned the process at which one is allocated land and the duties of office bearers in that regard. Such is the case in allocation and access to land in Zimbabwe not only in Rusape but the whole country.

The issue of land has been topical since 2000 with the current land audit report still to be issued 2 years after the exercise.
Parliament however agreed soon after the oral evidence that all the above mentioned persons must be notified to appear and respond to allegations leveled against them.