A VICTORIA FALLS housing cooperative using President Robert Mugabe’s name has come under fire from human rights activists for seeking to evict villagers in Kachechete on the outskirts of the resort town to pave way for urban dwellers.
At least 6 000 home seekers from Harare and Victoria Falls reportedly bought residential stands from the shadowy developer GR Mugabe Housing Union, also known as Gushungo, in Ndlovu village under Chief Mvuthu about 30km from Victoria Falls.
The housing union was reportedly formed with the legal counsel of Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and is headed by Michael Mambudzi.
Bulawayo Agenda condemned the activities of the housing union and described its actions as wanton violation of human rights.
The civic group said four of its officials, who were recently acquitted for allegedly contravening the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) after being arrested in Victoria Falls, were fighting for the rights of the affected villagers.
“Bulawayo Agenda is worried about the secrecy that has surrounded the housing project in Kachechete which has seen wanton violations of human rights and has also further resulted in the arrest of four of its officials under the guise of contravening Posa,” a Bulawayo Agenda statement read.
“The four officials were, however, acquitted by the Victoria Falls Magistrates’ Court on the 21st of August 2014. They were viewed as ‘unwelcome outsiders’ who would expose the goings on in Kachechete.
“We regard the arrest as undue abuse of State institutions in clamping down of civic space and perpetuation of organised chaos which has characterised the country’s land redistribution since the turn of the millennium. Bulawayo Agenda views this as consistent and worrying trend of violation of citizens’ rights with impunity.
This has also counted as one of a series of invasions of private land in Bulawayo, Nyamandlovu and elsewhere. The land invasions are neither progressive nor in line with national values that the government of the day must defend.”
Bulawayo Agenda has urged the Hwange district administrator Tapera Mugoriya, the chief executive officer of the Hwange Rural District Council, Phindile Ncube, and the relevant MPs to ensure that parcelling out of the villagers’ land is brought to an immediate end.
More than 60 families, with an average of eight members each, are facing eviction to an unknown destination after having been “dumped” in a thick forest infested by tsetse flies and dangerous animals in 1955 by the Rhodesian government, being displaced from Masvingo, Gweru, Matopo and Gwanda.