THE Hwange Rural District Council is now facing a lawsuit after it ignored an ultimatum to halt the eviction of villagers from Ndlovu area to pave way for construction of a satellite town for Victoria Falls.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Last year, the local authority allocated Gushungo Robert Mugabe Housing Co-operative land belonging to Ndlovu villagers, claiming it wanted to ease housing shortages in the resort town.
The co-operative has since pegged stands at homesteads, communal farms and other areas belonging to villagers and sold them to desperate home-seekers.
This will result in villagers, who had been residing in the area for decades, being evicted, and relocated to a nearby forest.
However, Tineyi Mukwewa, co-ordinator of the Abammeli Human Rights Lawyer Network, said they were now going to court to stop the evictions.
“We gave them a seven-day notice to respond and it has since elapsed,” he said.
“We had written a letter to them seeking clarification on why they allocated the housing cooperative land belonging to the villagers.
“As such, we are now finalising the papers and we will be filing them on Monday.
“We will be taking the housing co-operative and the rural district council to court over the matter.”
Mukwewa said the planned eviction and relocation of villagers violated the Constitution.
He said the Gushungo housing co-operative should be allocated land where council intended to relocate the villagers.
Last month, Siasundu villagers approached the High Court seeking an order compelling Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and the Binga Rural District Council to stop plans of displacing more than 1 000 villagers, to pave way for the setting up of an urban settlement.
Villagers argue that they were not consulted and were not being given first preference in the allocation of housing stands being pegged on their homesteads.