By Staff Reporter
Green Fuel Company has once again come under fire from Chisumbanje villagers over its decision to impoundstray cattle trespassing into the sugarcane plantations and fining four dollars for each beast.
The company whose love-hate relationship with Chisumbanje villagers has been going on since 2008 is reported to have erected very big kraals where impounded cattle are kept.
Villagers complain that the decision is problematic due to the absence of a clear boundary and clarity on what constitutes trespassing.
Naison Mudhluli of Machona villagewho showed us a $56 receipt fine for his eight cattle held over two days.
“Raising money to pay fine is very difficult because we did not harvest this year, we are even failing to feed our families,” Mudhluli said.
Mudhluli who had to borrow money to pay his fine from relatives after exhausting his savings said getting a dollar nowadays is hard due to the biting economic situation that has seen many average families affording only one meal a day.
Villagers also expressed concern that the kraals where the impounded cattle are kept have no feeds.
Taurai Mubhongo (33) of Mutumburi village was in tears as she narrated her ordeal at the hands of Green Fuel security guards manning the Kraals.
“I am convinced that Green Fuel security guards and the police at Chisumbanje may work together to make it difficult for me to recover my cattle. I am therefore appealing for support to not only recover my beast but for the impounding of cattle to be outlawed,” Mubhongo said.
Mubhongo paid $12 instead of $24 for his two cattle that had been locked for three days and one of her two impounded cattle went missing.
She has since reported the case of her missing cattle at Chisumbanje police station.
Majority of members whose cattle were held for trespassing are worried that the idea of impounding is neither a solution nor a properly consulted approach.
The idea of impounding cattle was tried between 2010 and 2012 and failed. Then, one cattle was charged $10 per day and this caused pandemonium and serious divisions muddled with underhand dealings between security guards and criminal activities found in the local community.
Re introducing a failed programme indicates thatGreen fuel does not respect wider consultations but their own economic interests to protect their sugarcane.
A villager from Muyondozi area, Wallen Khumbuyani accused some elements without cattle of supporting the impounding of cattle as a selfish way of dealing with their differences with individuals with cattle.
“The idea of impounding cattle has failed before, it will therefore fail again because it is being abused by powerful members of the community who are working closely with Green Fuel to fix those whom they disagree with politically,” Khumbuyani said.
Khumbuyani revealed a case in which a known villager who has always lost the mandate to represent the community was spotted driving cattle of a neighbor to the sugarcane as a way of ensuring that the cattle are impounded.
Due to drought and shortage of grazing land in Chipinge South, most cattle owners are driving and feeding their herds along Jerawachera River and Magokova area which is close to Green Fuel sugar plantations.
Platform for Youth Development would want the impounding of cattle to be reviewed with a more representative stakeholder involvement.
“Co-existence can only be achieved through wider consultations with the affected stakeholders as opposed to an exclusive few who are weak during dialogue. The pending dispute has been defined as boundary related and we are hoping this will be clarified soonest and Green fuel encouraged to erect a fence around their sugar cane” Director of the organization, Claris Madhuku said.
The picture shows Naison Mudhluli taking his impounded cattle home after paying a fine of $56