Green Fuel 'annexes' 500h of cotton, maize fields

HARARE - The High Court in Mutare will today hear a case in which Chisumbanje villagers have dragged Green Fuel to court over about 500 hectares of cotton and maize fields the ethanol producer has allegedly arbitrarily annexed for its sugarcane fields expansion. 

Passmore Nyakureba of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) — who are representing the villagers — said of the development: “Our request to have the matter heard on an urgent basis has been granted and the matter has been set down for hearing at the High Court tomorrow (today).”

Magokova villagers under Chief Garahwa claim that they were never informed of any change in the use of their ancestral lands from communal and maintain that the ethanol producer was stealing their land and using armed guards and dogs. Green Fuel took over the land early this month and the move has deprived over 140 villagers of access to the land, which they use to grow cotton as their sole cash crop and maize for subsistence purposes.

Nyakureba and his ZLHR counterpart, Blessing Nyamaropa, on behalf of the villagers, have filed the application at the High Court in Mutare on Monday.

The villagers say that have had use of the land from colonial times and before 1983 or they inherited it within that system and now were being barred from tilling their fields, tending their germinated crops or from total access at all.

They claim that Green Fuel — through its officer only identified as Merit — had set armed security guards and dogs to ward them off.

Farming is the only economic activity that sustains their livelihoods.

To the best of their knowledge, they believe the company has neither secured a court order barring them from accessing their fields nor has the use of land been changed from communal to commercial by the responsible authority as they have not been informed of any such processes.

As such, they consider this an arbitrary violation of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

The villagers argue that about 3 000 individuals stand to suffer irreparable prejudice should the Green Fuel fail to allow villagers to continue with their agricultural activities as the farming season is already underway.


Comments (4)

Arable land should be used to grow food not fuel!

citizen - 13 December 2018

Imbwa hadzifanire kuruma vanhu - Isayi poyizeni panyama moteya. Kedu hakuna zvekuti security , unobva usisisna makumbo....wodzokera kumana nepfuti yako pa wiricheya. The villagers must get a share of profits + monies for the losses.

Unfair politics - 13 December 2018

Me and my people will fight this abuse to the bitter end. We know that Enock Porusingazi, who is supposed to be our MP has sold his soul to the devil. He and other Zanu pf crooks are benefiting from this green fuel nonsense while my people are suffering. Our great grand parents are buried in this land. Because of it's proximity to the Mozambique border my community suffered the burden of the liberation war. Four of my brothers fought in the liberation war, and one of them died, fighting for our land. My two uncles lost a son each. My father's businesses were all burnt down because he was supporting the liberation struggle. Almost every family in my community contributed at least a fighter to the war. They did not fight for this nonsense. Green fuel trucks have destroyed our roads, their waste water is killing our animals. They have taken away our land, but we will fight back. We don't have the guns, neither do we have an army nor a brutal police force, but we are the Ndau people. The situation will explode. Wait and see!

Mbirautare - 14 December 2018

Green Fuel should have used this opportunity to launch community-based sugar farming by small-scale farmers for a win-win situation. The fact that there is no consultation with the community and use of force for that matter indicates underhanded activities beyond public knowledge where a few people have been paid to ignore the poor peasants plea. I think Green Fuel will be the ultimate loser. They should have launched community-based sugar farming that they would have supported with skills, inputs and equipment. An opportunity wasted. In other countries, companies get awarded points for building communities around them and even more rewards for enhancing rural farming while incorporating the peasants into their value chain.

Wamambo Zimuro - 17 December 2018

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