Women petition government over forced evictions

Women petition government over forced evictions

Minister Anxious Jongwe Masuka

By Letwin Mubonesi

Chipinge women have petitioned the government demanding an immediate stop to forced removal of villagers living on customary land, especially women and children by the Chipinge Rural District Council.

In their petition presented to Lands Minister Anxious Masuka, the women demanded an immediate stop to forced evictions of women and children by the local council paving way for Green Fuel sugar plantations.

“That discovery of gold and diamond minerals must not lead to arbitrary eviction of land rights holders by ALROSA mining companies. Land allocation must prioritise locals, especially women rather than foreigners and that men and women must enjoy the same land rights,” says the petition.

Women said they are also citizens who  have a say when it comes to developments on their land. Hence, they demanded an immediate stop to the use of force and violence by foreign investors like Green Fuel, which includes slashing down of crops, confiscation of livestock and assault of residents.

The women said there was a need to stop corruption and undue influence during investor consultation with traditional leaders.

“We demand a review of investment policies that promote ‘land grabbing’ at the expense of the needs of local farmers,” they said.

“We demand fair compensation that includes alternative productive land and adequate time for relocation in the case of us saying yes to the State/investors taking land for other uses. The compensation must include women and children and not prioritise just men.”

 “We demand adequate information on all investments earmarked for our Chipinge district and 50-50 participation of women in traditional leaders’ committees that govern our land,” read some parts of the petition.

The petition also demanded inclusion of women as traditional leaders and that investors should respect traditional leaders who preside over customary land and promote gender balance decision making.

“We demand social service delivery like maternal clinics, water, dip tanks for all including women, youth and people living with disability.”

Nyari Mashayamombe

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