High Court Stops Confiscation And Urbanisation Of Villagers' Communal Land12 months ago
The High Court on 26 September 2022 stopped Chipinge Rural District Council (CRDC) from confiscating and urbanising communal land belonging to some Chipinge villagers.
The villagers who were being represented by Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers’ Tariro Tazvitya approached the coach seeking an order to stop the local government authority from urbanising Kondo Communal Lands without following due process.
Some CRDC officials accompanied by those from the Department of Physical Planning, in November and December 2021, began surveying and pegging residential stands in Kondo Communal Lands in Chipinge without informing them about the process of urbanising the area.
The villagers then resorted to instituting legal action by filing an application at Mutare High Court on 16 May 2022 seeking an order to stop the CRDC’s move which they said was a violation of several of their constitutional rights
These rights include their right to property, their right to administrative justice and their right to information all guaranteed in the Constitution.
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In the application, which was filed by their lawyer Tariro Tazvitya, the villagers argued that CRDC had not consulted them before undertaking the urbanisation process.
They said, resultantly, their concerns had not been considered in violation of the provisions of the Communal Lands Act, which stipulates the procedure in terms of which the urbanisation process must be done.
The villagers argued that urbanisation of their land has the effect of reducing the size of the land in which they are in occupation and asked the High Court to halt the process.
The Kondo villagers stated that they have inhabited Kondo Communal Lands since time immemorial, where they lead a communal way of life and rely on and carry out subsistence farming as a source of livelihood hence it would be unmanageable to survive in an urban setup as they have no capacity or the means to cope with the urban way of life.
In response to the villagers’ application, High Court Judge Justice Jester Helena Charewa recently barred CRDC from urbanising Kondo Communal Lands without following due process.