THE Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) in conjunction with women drawn from areas facing displacements has petitioned Parliament and Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to act on the evictions.
MIHR coordinator Khumbulani Maphosa, together with women from Lubimbi in Binga, Dinde in Hwange, Chilonga in Chiredzi, Mutoko and Victoria Falls, this week handed over the petition to Bulawayo legislator Jasmine Toffa.
“We are talking of 70 000 to 80 000 families being displaced and these are not the only ones. As we speak, we have received several distress calls,” Maphosa said handing over the petition.
“In September we had a meeting with 13 civic society organisations and came up with a communiqué. We are not saying development evictions must not be done but must have a human rights face.
“Zimbabwe signed a ratified Kampala Convention, which was developed by the African Union and is also giving guidance on how they should do development displacements. As the government implements development induced displacements it must adhere to what it signed,” he added.
Maphosa said government should not prioritise mining over people’s rights.
The petition reads: “Three years after the adoption of Vision 2030, Zimbabwe’s ethnic, linguistic and indigenous communities are facing a plethora of human rights violations due to government-led development and extractive investments.
“Between the years 2019 and 2021, the government-orchestrated international investment and development initiatives have resulted in over 73 524 people either being displaced or risking displacement by mining, agriculture, urbanisation and development initiatives across the country; over 4 999 households are under threat of displacements; and more than 23 440 hectares of land is to be taken away from communal peasant farmers.”
The petition states that Chikomba District has 800 Manhize villagers facing eviction due to an iron ore and carbon steel plant by the Tsinghan Holdings, a Chinese company.
“In Murehwa, 39 households face eviction as 300 hectares of land will be taken by a Chinese company called Heijin for black granite extraction. In Domboshava 20 000 people face eviction due to quarry mining by a Chinese company called China Aihua Jianye,” it reads.
“In Hwange 3 600 villagers face eviction due to coal mining by Beifa Investments, a Chinese company. In Hwange also 100 homesteads from Jembwe, Jabula, Kasikili and Kanywambizi communal lands face eviction due to Batoka Township development.”
The petition also states that Binga has 502 households with 2 422 villagers facing eviction due to the Gwayi-Shangani Lake construction by a Chinese company, China International Water and Electric Corporation (Pvt) Ltd. In Beitbridge 34 202 people are set to lose over 4 000 hectares of Shobi Block to Schweppes Company for a Citrus plantation.
The petition also states that 12 500 people at Chilonga in Chiredzi are set to be evicted to pave way for Dendairy’s lucerne plantation. Also, Mutoko has 1 500 households set to be evicted to pave way for a black granite extraction project by the Chinese company, Shanghai Haoying Mining Investments among many other projects in the country, it says.