|Chiredzi RDC offices|
…journalists expelled from explosive community meeting
CHIREDZI - Journalists from TellZim News, NewsDay and The Herald were today expelled from a meeting involving villagers from Chilonga Irrigation Scheme, Chiredzi Rural District Council (RDC) and the Minister of Local Government minister July Moyo.
The villagers are understood to be resisting plans by government to give their land to dairy company Dendairy which wants to use it for a lucerne grass farming project.
As the meeting was about to start at Chiredzi Town Council offices, District Intelligence Officer (DIO) Joseph Urimbo asked the media to go away.
"You guys are being recused from this meeting as it is a closed door meeting. All media are not allowed here," said Urimbo.
However, he allowed a Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reporter to stay behind before ordering police officers to forcibly move away the reporters who had gathered some 20 metres away from the venue.
Dendairy is eyeing an approximate 10 000 hectares in Chiredzi South and East for lucerne farming, and the project is expected to displace over 1000 families from their ancestral land.
Lurcene grass, also called alfalfa, is used for making hay or animal fodder.
Some village sources say they cannot cooperate with authorities as they fear yet another Chingwizi debacle.
From 2014, government moved thousands of people from the vicinity of the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam which was still under construction, to a barren piece of land at Chingwizi in MWenezi East where they still live in overcrowded and squalid conditions with no basic social amenities.
Compensation for the displaced people has largely not been paid six years on although promises are made whenever an election is around the corner.