Peace Commission visits Chipinge ‘eviction hotspots’

CHIPINGE – The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has visited hotspots in Chipinge where villagers are being
randomly evicted from their land by Government departments and influential members of society.

NPRC Commissioner-in-charge of Complaints Handling and Investigations Charles Masunungure confirmed the visit that took
place two weeks ago to Chipinge Times. He warned that unless resolved quickly, the land disputes in Chipinge would become
violent conflicts.

He said that there were two objectives for the three-day visit; to investigate cases of eviction where some villagers were being
kicked out of their settlements by people who did not even have court orders and to raise awareness on issues concerning land matters.

NPRC visited two villages affected by evictions namely; Munyokowere in Middle Sabi and Gumai Village. He said that although
the team visited two villages, there will be more visits to the district after it was noted that there were more disputes in Chipinge.
At Gumai Village residents are now living in tents after being evicted from a farm. The villagers’ homes were burnt down by the Police during an eviction process.

At Munyokowere, villagers were on several occasions served with eviction letters by Chipinge Rural District Council until a Mutare
Judge Justice Mwayera stopped the evictions because the local authority did not have a court order.

Masunungure said investigations of the evictions are going on. He said NPRC investigations are provided for in section 252 (f) of the Constitution and Section 3 (2) (a) of the NPRC Act chapter 10:32 and the Commission’s mandate is as provided in section 252 (a-j) of the constitution.

“When we got into the district, we visited two wards but we discovered that there are more disputes in many other wards and we
are going to re-visit the district,” said Masunungure. He said the villagers were happy to see the commission attending to their complaints. “The land disputes have taken too long to be resolved hence the hope by villagers that the NPRC could be the panacea this time. There are numerous land related disputes that if not addressed may become violent conflicts,” he added.
He said NPRC investigates human rights violations that cause or are a result of a dispute or conflict.

A local governance practitioner and Platform for Youth and Community Development, (PYCD) officer, Allan Murozvi said in Chipinge, the NPRC is seen as the remedy for social political and economic crisis faced by victims of arbitrary evictions.

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