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Villagers up in arms against judge

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VILLAGERS of Ward 24 Matobo district are up in arms against former High Court judge Justice Maphios Cheda, claiming when he was allocated land in their area in 2010, the boundaries of his property encroached on theirs.

BENSON DUBE
OWN CORRESPONDENT

They claim that in 2010 Cheda went and divided the village into two and took more than three-quarters of the land.

During the same year, the villagers say they invited the district administrator and the lands officer to explain why they allocated Cheda the land.

They wanted the judge to receive 100 hectares only, instead of the A1 farm he received.

Cheda is accused of removing a water pump that was given to villagers and they now had to resort to drinking water from unprotected sources.

“Ten years after we were resettled, Cheda came and divided the village, gave himself more than three quarters of 1 300 hectares.

“We invited the district administrator and the lands officer to come and explain why they decided to resettle an A2 farmer on an A1 farm, but they did not return,” read a petition from the villagers.

“Considering the size of the farm, as villagers we have agreed that Cheda be given 100 hectares only.

“When Cheda came in he took a pump that was given to us by the government and we are now drinking unprotected water from the dam.”

According to the villagers, Cheda at one time allowed women to cut thatching grass inside his boundary and later took the grass from them, claiming they were trespassing.

“Cheda allowed our wives to cut thatching grass from within his boundary and after they had cut it he refused them the grass and said they were trespassing,” the letter continues.

It is further alleged that Cheda destroyed recreation facilities and closed an area designated for burial.

Allegations include his fencing the dam within his area and randomly shooting game without notifying villagers.

When Southern Eye contacted the judge’s farm manager, Lee Siziba, he said Cheda was given an offer letter by the government and occupied space within the mentioned boundary and if the villagers were not satisfied with the move they must approach the relevant authorities.

“Cheda was given an offer letter by the ministry of Lands and occupied the specified piece of land and if villagers are not happy they must approach the relevant authorities,” he said.

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