Chief Zephania Sigola in Umzingwane District has sued a village head and six villagers over a piece of land, which the local leader allocated to other villagers reportedly without the chief’s consent.
In his urgent chamber application filed at the Bulawayo High Court on November 6, Chief Sigola cited village head Martin Mabaleka, villagers Noble Mathe, Shepherd Phiri, Ndodana Sibanda, Sipho Nkala and Clement Sibanda as respondents respectively.
In his founding affidavit, Chief Sigola accused Mabaleka of allocating land to the villagers in his jurisdiction without his authority.
He said the land in question belonged to other villagers. Sigola said Mabaleka has refused to tell the people he gave stands to hand them back to the owners.
Sigola indicated that Mabaleka has since applied for a peace order against some villagers who are claiming their land back, accusing them of being violent.
“The respondents have illegally taken the stands and fields of other residents, including a field allocated to workers who have been ploughing the land for years,” Sigola submitted.
“There has never been any rain that poured without the illegally grabbed land being used and as a traditional chief, I cannot allow illegal reforms being brought in my area.”
Sigola said he was the only one authorised to recommend people allocated stands to the Lands Committee, but in this instance, he was never involved and was only surprised to see people developing the stands leading to him writing letters to those developing the stands ordering them to stop.
He asked the court to order the illegal settlers to vacate the land.
However, High Court judge Justice Francis Bere on November 18 dismissed Chief Sigola’s application, saying it does not have the urgency that the Chief purports it has.
“This matter does not represent the kind of urgency contemplated by the rules,” Bere ruled.
“The challenges highlighted by the Chief have been occurring for many years before. There is no justification at all bringing this matter as an urgent application. The matter must be dealt with in the ordinary way. I decline to treat this matter as an urgent case.”