|VP chiwenga chatting with Chief Sengwe in Gibbo Stadium recently|
CHIREDZI – Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s visit to Chiredzi last weekend was linked to intelligence reports received by government that villagers and their leaders were threatening to vote for the opposition in the 2023 general elections, TellZim News can report.
Chiwenga spoke at Gibbo Stadium after meeting traditional leaders of the predominantly Xangani speaking communities of Chiredzi South, North and East some of whom were bound to be affected by the controversial lucerne project which recently caused national uproar.
Though government appears to have withdrawn plans to forcibly relocate thousands of villagers from their ancestral land to pave way for Dendairy to implement the project, grievances continue to simmer in those marginalised communities.
The grievances also include the procedure being used to allocate plots at the massive Kilimanjaro smallholder sugarcane project which local communities fear would exclude them once more.
“Chiwenga came to douse the fires after the aggrieved communities threatened to vote for the opposition come 2023. The threat unruffled feathers at the highest ranks of government hence the decision to send Chiwenga to reassure the communities. Remember, these are communities that have been victims of forced relocations in the past, and there are also simmering perceptions that they have been marginalised and discriminated of by the government since independence.
“Traditional leaders were assured that nobody will be removed from their ancestral land and that any project that will be launched on their land will be owned by them. They were also promised that local communities will be given priority in the allocation of plots at Kilimanjaro,” said a source.
Speaking at Gibbo Stadium after canvassing the traditional leaders, Chiwenga said President Emmerson Mnangagwa had decided that nobody will be removed from their land.
“This area is known for sugarcane production and I know of some areas which are underutilised. We need those areas to be identified by the Department of Lands and be distributed to the local Xanganis and the Kilimanjaro project too should benefit the locals.
Chiwenga assured chiefs and headmen from Sengwe communal lands that their people will no longer be removed from their ancestral land.
He also said the communities needed to discuss on the advantages of growing lucerne and other cattle feeds with a vision for development.
“Last year, we resuscitated Chilonga Irrigation Scheme which had been defunct for decades and that was just an introduction of what we intend to do for this community. We shall have Chilonga 2 and 3 coming our way.
“I want to make this clear that no one is going to be evicted from their ancestral land in Chilonga but we need to come up with empowerment projects from what they have been doing.
“Lucerne brings development here and I came with these ministers to discuss the advantages of this project and we should have a vision of this project and we are all obliged to take it as our development,” said Chiwenga.