Villagers in the Buffalo Range resettlement scheme in ward 29, Chiredzi North, are afraid of being displaced as the Government is leading a 3 000-hectare community irrigation scheme in the area, taking advantage of abundant water resources in Masvingo Province.
The villagers do not hold any title to the land in question and there are concerns that they will be moved away without compensation.
A ZANU PF Chiredzi North constituency aspirant who resides in Ward 29, White Munyenge, is worried the government may not keep its promise to compensate the hundreds of families occupying the land in question. Munyenge said:
We are not against the development which is being initiated by the government but we have our fears that the government may not keep its promise of compensating us, rather we are calling for a written document with a signature from the District Administrator, Lands department and community leadership of the agreement of compensation from the government since we do not have land permits.
Ward 29 councillor, Kizwell Muvengi, dispelled the villagers’ fears, saying the irrigation scheme is a project that aims at benefitting communities in wards 16, 27 and 29. He said:
This is a government-funded project for the community and it is a pilot project which covers about 3 000 hectares.
Ward 29 villagers are going to benefit from this project and as promised by the Minister of Agriculture, Honorable Masuku, the displaced people will be fully compensated and will be well-taken care of.
Masvingo Provincial Development Coordinator Jefter Sakupwapwanya said the villagers will not be evicted but the government has proper planning for settlements where houses and fields are organised and people are given letters.
Nevertheless, in 2011 and 2012 villagers of Ward 29 were evicted from an area around Buffalo Range Airport by the government at the district level and received no compensation.