CCC Member Assaulted Over Post-Election Land Dispute
By Lorraine Ndebele and Marko Shoko
A member of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) recently suffered a broken leg after being heavily assaulted by alleged members of the ruling party (ZANU-PF) following a disagreement over land.
Munorwei Chinyangana from Ward 24 Chiredzi East was rushed to Mashoko Mission Hospital in Bikita, Masvingo Province for medical treatment after being attacked by three ZANU PF members who severely assaulted after he confronted them over the invasion of his farm.
Chinyangana says he has owned a farm in Lavanga Ward 1, Chiredzi East District since 2012. He got the farm through the land reform programme and has been occupying and utilizing it since then. However, following Zimbabwe’s most recent harmonized elections held on 23 August 2023, local land officials are said to have allocated Chinyangana’s farm to another person, Blessing Vheremu. Being concerned about reallocation the farm, Chinyangana approached Vheremu at the latter’s home suggesting that they go to the local Village Development Committee (VDCO) Chairperson to amicably resolve the issue.
Vheremu was not amused by Chinyangana’s visit and he angrily proceeded to his neighbor’s home where he mobilized two men and a woman to attack Chinyangana. As Chinyangana said, it was the woman who started the violent attack on him.
“As they attacked me, I insisted that we go and see the VDCO chairman for a peaceful resolution to the dispute”, Chinyangana said.
“However, they pushed me to the ground and started beating all over my body telling me that they don’t care about CCC people because this land is owned by ZANU-PF”, he said.
When his attackers eventually decided to go to Adam Hama, the VDCO Chairman, Chinyangana said he was already seriously injured and could neither walk nor drive his motorcycle. He said he called members of his family who took him to Mashoko hospital where he said was treated for injuries including…
Although he has been discharged from Mashoko hospital, Chinyangana says he is still unwell and is planning to go to Harare for further treatment.
Reached for comment, Vheremu denied assaulting Chinyangana. “His injuries may have resulted from falling on a motor cycle”, Chidoko said, adding: “It was the lady we were with who simply pushed him down.”
Vheremu also denied dispossessing Chinyangana of his land, saying he was allocated eighty (80) meters of the land by Cephus Marape who, he said, is the actual owner of the farm that Chinyangana claims to be his.
“I was given a piece of that farm by Marape who only gave me 80 metres and told me to farm there together with Chinyangana”, said Vheremu.
He also says that Chinyangana was already injured when he approached him which he suspects was a fall from a motorbike
Efforts to get a comment from the VDCO chairman of Chiredzi East, Adam Hama were fruitless as his phone was unavailable.
The City of Masvingo has finally moved in to address the problem of critical social services that were lacking in the past especially the construction of a more functional sewer system for the Garikai housing settlement.
Media Centre produced and published a video report that documented the plight of this marginalized community in Masvingo urban. Residents in the community were shown in the video report expressing their dismay for the inhumane conditions that the local authorities were subjecting them to through the absence of proper ablution facilities.
Living in Epworth, a peri-urban marginalized community has proven to be difficult for many who have to struggle to eke a living during the day and return to the dark and silent homes in the evening. As if the shortage of water is not a bigger problem on its own, Epworth residents have to suffer more when it comes to making meals and preserving their food because of the unavailability of electricity in most of the households.
Lack of sufficient power generation capacity in the country compounded by poor transmission and distribution infrastructure has been the main cause of unequal electricity distribution between Zimbabwe’s developed and marginalized communities. While the equal distribution of electricity within a country is a necessity, Zimbabwe has largely lagged behind. This drawback has been one of the main reasons for the sluggish development that currently persists.
Although the country has tried to cover the gap difference of the electricity supply between urban and rural areas through the establishment of the Rural Electrification Programme (REP) in 2002, there have been loopholes in terms of distribution between the country’s developed and marginalized urban areas resulting in massive inequalities. For example, in Epworth, most of the houses do not have electricity due to what residents described as a cumbersome and expensive process when it comes to applying for electricity installation.
The lack of electricity has led to the perpetual suffering of residents as they struggle when it comes to energy for their cooking, getting access to information, and powering their electronic entertainment gadgets, which are necessary for them to escape real-life hardships they endure on a daily basis. The lack of access to electricity greatly infringes on their rights as human beings.
“In Epworth, almost three-quarters of the houses do not have electricity. For one to have electricity they should have a cluster at their area and then start contributing every month to buy materials like poles, cables, and other related materials and from there they need to look for a contractor and have to submit names to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA). So that is the process now, and ZESA does not want wooden poles and also they need four lines of wire cables which cost, for instance, $2 US dollars per meter. How many can afford that? Thus most people do not have electricity and for those who have, sometimes there will be no electricity due to power cuts like any other areas,” said one of Epworth’s local residents who identified herself as Sarah Njanji.
The effects and costs of the lack of electricity also disadvantage school children who cannot access online lessons during the recent Covid -19 induced lockdowns and future lockdowns. Residents also miss critical information in the form of news due to the lack of electrical power.
“We are doing that project now and it has been now 4 years without electricity because we had wooden poles and only 50-meter wire. The challenges we then face are that most people use firewood to cook which is a disadvantage during rainy seasons, especially when they cannot afford to buy gas as it is very expensive. Also, technology appreciation and access to information require electricity, and most people here cannot watch television or listen to the radio because sometimes solar energy is not reliable as they require a great amount of sunshine. In schools our children are lagging behind because they are unable to attend online lessons because there will be no source of energy to charge their cellphones,” Sarah added.
Another issue that Njanji raised was that of regularization. She stated that some of the houses in Epworth’s Wards 4,5, 6, and 7 are still waiting for regularization.
“The regularization process in Epworth is unsatisfactory because both the local board and council are failing to properly allocate land. Maybe l don’t really understand how the allocation process is carried out but it seems to have something to do with politics because I don’t understand the criteria they are using when allocating the land, but it is disadvantaging vulnerable groups in Epworth such as the elderly and orphans whom they should be prioritizing. Hence, there’s a need for government to monitor them because urgent intervention is required for regularization to be done properly to improve livelihoods and prevent chaos,” said a local resident, John Nyapetwa. Listen here
Meanwhile, the Epworth local board confirmed the unavailability of electricity in some parts of Epworth but blamed squatters who live in illegal structures for delaying the regularization of some houses. According to the Epworth local board, unregularized houses cannot get electricity because they will be considered to be without owners.
“I think the bigger problem is that people do not have money and the process of installing electricity is very expensive. While vandalism is another problem leading to power outages in the area, the presence of illegal structures has also been affecting the regularization process, thereby affecting the distribution of electricity in the area. However, there is need for proper use of funds which government donates so that electricity is made available and Epworth develops from being a peri-urban area,” Epworth Local Board member, Reverend Masesedza said.
Illegal structures cannot be regularized, hence, there’s a need for the residents to formerly buy land and build legal houses so that they get electricity.
Despite efforts to improve the electricity supply in the country, the government’s measures have been catching a cold from the nation’s deteriorating economic conditions. The government established the rural electrification program, constantly repairs machinery at the county’s power stations (Hwange and Kariba), and granted electricity-producing licenses to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) as a way to increase electricity supply. Hence, inadequate electricity distribution and generation remain a challenge, which without improvement can prevail forever, unless transparency, accountability, and equity are put into practice by Zimbabwe’s electricity generating, transmission and distribution company, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA). Transparency, accountability, and equity are important principles that when applied, there will be adequate and fair use of funds donated to the energy sector, thus ensuring equal and efficient distribution of electricity within the country. This prevents the neglect of marginalized communities like Epworth in this instance.
While most European and Asian countries like the US, China, and India have made clear progress on expanding electricity access in recent years, developing countries’ efforts, especially Zimbabwe to make electricity available for everyone will need to improve if the country is going to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 which aims at ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. Thereby supporting Zimbabwe’s vision of becoming an upper-middle-income economy by the year 2030 because insufficient power supply in the country presents barriers that impact development in the country’s economic, health, education, and social sectors.
-Strong winds experienced Thursday afternoon in areas around Mutiusinazita ward 27 in Buhera South, Manicaland province have left a trail of destruction to infrastructure in the marginalised community.
The violent winds swept through around 1300hrs to 1500hrs causing serious damage to notable learning institutions like Mutiusinazita secondary school and the local clinic.
Some homesteads in the affected district were also left with no more roofs.
And now with the rain season fast beckoning, there is need to see to it that the government and stake holders do something urgently to salvage the situation.
Following an exposition by our citizen reporter, Emmanuel Manyati in Mutoko who is constantly doing stories on the destruction of roads and other infrastructure related to the extraction of the black granite stone in the area, works towards refurbishments has started showing signs of commencement.
Local residents have been complaining over the lack of meaningful benefits for their community from which the extraction of the highly sought after granite stone have been taking place.
The local district council together with the several mining companies conducting operations in the area have both been accused for not doing enough in terms of developing the area despite the huge profits being realised from the venture.
The Media must consistently and constantly report on water, sanitation, and hygiene in Zimbabwean, with a view to lay bare some of the bottlenecks hampering the provision of potable water and sanitation services mostly in urban areas.
The need to prioritize reporting on water, sanitation and hygiene in urban areas was reiterated by various speakers at a Zoom Conference organized by Media Center tackling issues of water, sanitation, and hygiene in Zimbabwe’s urban areas.
‘’The Media must constantly and consistently report on water, sanitation, and hygiene in the Zimbabwean Urban areas said Ms. Patience Zirima- the Director of Media Monitors. Zirima further added that the media must consistently and constantly report on water issues than merely wait to report on water, hygiene, and sanitation when there is a disease outbreak like cholera and Typhoid.
Alice Kuveya of Chitungwiza Residents and Ratepayers Associations highlighted that the Chitungwiza water system represents a retrogressive water management system, in the form of dilapidated water infrastructure. She further asserted that Chitungwiza is relying on Harare for water as it has no sources of water of its own.
Kuveya also indicated that due to the lack of clean and potable water from their home taps, residents of Chitungwiza are now resorting to getting water from boreholes dug mainly by development partners. According to Kuveya getting water from boreholes has challenges of its own like lack of social distancing during this Covid-19 pandemic.
Kuveya said municipalities are losing a lot of water through leakages.
The Mayor of Harare Mr. Jacob Mafume argued that it will be difficult to realize actual sanitation in Zimbabwean urban areas as some citizens use rudimentary latrines. He further said that all the water bodies have now been outstripped by demand. He also emphasized the need for proper devolution of city organs and the requirement of municipal bonds to address issues of infrastructure development in municipalities.
Another panelist at the Webinar Conference Mr. Hardlife Mudzingwa of Community Water Alliance(CWA) said their organization is effectively channeling information on water, sanitation, and hygiene through social media platforms such as Whatsapp groups, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on.
Mr. Precious Shumba of Harare Residents Trust (HRT) also bemoaned challenges of polarization amongst the city fathers.
The Harare City Council will soon start Budget Consultations in a bid to solicit residents’ inputs and budget priorities for the year 2022.
Last Friday the Local Authority convened a Virtual Stakeholders Consultative Meeting with the Budget Advisory Committee and Civic Society Organizations in an attempt to map out engagement strategies for the 2022 budget consultations in view of the COVID 19 pandemic.
According to the City of Harare, the budget consultations are expected to commence this August and end in September.
During the Consultative Meeting, stakeholders and civic society urged the local authority to embrace technology and use mobile applications, online platforms, and written submissions from key stakeholders to engage citizens since COVID 19 had disrupted physical engagements.
However, stakeholders lamented that the City’s processes were merely cosmetic and called on the local authority to avail information on the 2021 budget performance so that residents will input into the 2022 budget being informed.
“We have been having challenges in accessing the information on-budget performance and the draft budget which makes it difficult to participate from an informed position ”, said Mr. Malaya from Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy.
In terms of the Urban Councils Act 29:15 (288) (2) (a) when the estimates (budget) have been approved by the council and approved by the mayor copies of the estimates (budget) are made available for public inspection.
Furthermore, Section 219 (2) of the Urban Councils Act 29:15 specify that before any tariff or charges come into operation “a statement setting out the proposed tariff” shall be advertised in two issues of newspapers and posted at Council offices for a period of not less than 30 days.
The law also provides room for residents to object to the proposed tariffs for reconsideration by the Council in terms of Section 219 (3) (a) and (b) of the Urban Councils Act 29:15.
The budget consultations are a critical process of priority and tariff setting, an issue the local authority has been wrestling with citizens for many years.
Urban local authority budgets are governed by the Urban Councils Act 29:15, Public Finance Management Act, the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and Circulars from the Ministry of Local Government.
CHRA calls for inclusive budget consultation processes and the City to consider citizen input seriously during the budget consultations.
Chief Fortune Charumbira seems not happy with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s approval of the appointment of Chief Bere, questioning why one would receive a chieftainship which has been abandoned under the colonial regime.
Charumbira could not hide his anger during a rally held by Masvingo West MP Ezra Chadzamira where he was given chance to address the gathering recently.
Chief Charumbira is alleged to have chanted a slogan in which he denounced Chief Bere calling him an ‘imposter’.
Chief Charumbira is said to have pleaded with Chadzamira to intervene on the matter and ‘knock some sense’ into President Mnangagwa’s head that Chief Bere’s kingdom is not legitimate.
Chief Charumbira told TellZim News that his issues with Chief Bere were dealt with by the courts last week where Chief Bere’s urgent application for a peace order against him was thrown out.
“We were at the court last week where Bere had applied for a peace order against Chief Zimuto and me. The application was thrown out because it lacked merit and Bere had to plead for the withdrawal of his case because he feared costs.
“I will not answer any more questions but I am giving the phone to Zondi Charumbira who can speak on my behalf, ”said Chief Charumbira before handing over the phone to one Zondi.
Zondi defended Chief Charumbira saying that he never chanted a slogan against Chief Bere but said that they are willing to go to any length to fight the revived chiefdom.
“Bere is not a chief and there is a High Court order to that effect .On March 16, we were at the court where Bere asked for a peace order against us but his case was thrown out.
“Bere was crowned against a High Court order and he is not the legitimate chief,” said Zondi.
However, Zondi confirmed that Chief Charumbira indeed engaged Chadzamira to intervene on the matter and said that they are allowed to say whatever they want at a rally.
“It was a rally so people are allowed to say what they think and want .Chief Charumbira engaged minister Chadzamira on the matter and we are prepared to go to any length to deal with the matter,” said Zondi.
Chief Bere born Phineas Tafirei has found himself under attack from Chief Charumbira who has since ganged up with Chief Zimuto who also lost territory to the new kingdom.
Chadzamira confirmed to TellZim News that he was engaged by Chief Charumbira to carry the message to President Mnangagwa.
“We were at a rally and my response was that I am only a politician therefore, I do not have powers to appoint chiefs or get involved in traditional leaders’s issues,” said Chadzamira.
“Chief Charumbira asked me to engage President Mnangagwa on the matter as you are aware that he is the appointing authority for chiefs. He is the one with the power to revive or dissolve kingdoms,” said Chadzamira.
Chief Bere was crowned at a ceremony which was attended by Charumbira himself and other chiefs in Masvingo province.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) have applauded the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Environment and Tourism for calling on the state to take urgent measures such as developing environmental plans to control massive wetlands destruction caused by the City of Harare that is increasingly authorizing developments on wetlands.
Addressing a press conference today at Media Centre, the ZLHR and HWT commended Parliament for responding to their 2019 submissions that resulted in a Parliamentary Report on Wetlands Management that calls for the state to protect wetlands from unlawful developments that has resulted in continued degradation which harm the ecosystem.
Environmental Committee chairperson, Tapera Saizi said “ZLHT and HWT support the call for legislative provisions to ensure that all development on wetlands be prohibited except in the most exceptional circumstances saying a legislative reform is critical for wetlands protection.”
ZLHR Senior Programmes Lawyer, Fiona Iliff also said as much as they specifically applauded the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Report on Wetlands Management to ensure checks and balances and objective assessments on the ecological issues in decision making processes, they further recommend that a specialised environmental police unit with expertise on environmental issues be established.
ZLHR and HWT called on the City of Harare, the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Environmental Management Agency to protect wetlands in the context of increased developments on wetlands. Against this backdrop, ZLHR and HWT commend the Parliament Portfolio Committee for calling on the state to take urgent measures to curb persistent wetlands destruction in Harare.
ZLHR and HWT however made further demands by calling upon the Ministry of Environment to review and update the National Environmental Plan, and to develop Local Authority Environmental Action Plans, as recommended, in a manner recognizing the importance and protection of wetlands.
The ZLHR and HWT call on Parliament and the Executive to urgently implement the recommendations in terms of the government’s obligations and in terms of sections 73 and 77 of the constitution, to protect the environment and water resources for present and future generations.