The villagers who have over the years used the now disputed piece of land said Green Fuel security guards came aboard two trucks and pounced on innocent villagers threatening them with prosecution for resisting a project sponsored by President Robert Mugabe.
Realizing they were vulnerable, Chisumbanje villagers retreated but could not save their maize seed which the over-zealous security guards impounded. They vowed that they will not sit back and watch Green Fuel illegally grabbing their land.
“We will not be moved from the land of our forefathers so easily unless they want to kill us. We have been tilling this land since the 1920s”, claimed the village head Titus Mutandani Mutumburi
Farai Dube who was part of villagers chased by security guards appealed to government to be considerate and respect the rights of communal farmers.
“Where is President Mugabe as we are being violently and inhumanely treated by one white man who always chose farming season to frustrate us? We are now at that time where we must defend our right to land despite the consequences” said Farai Dube
Among Chisumbanje villagers’ concerns is the fact that the clashes always start during the farming season which has over the years prejudiced them of good harvests, which the company uses to justify its actions.
Villagers also accuse Green fuel of using unrestrained and overzealous security guards who have always been wantonly beating innocent villagers. In June 2016, a Green fuel security guard,Bornface Shungwa ended up killing a Chinyamukwakwa villager,Itai Chikwasha.
The confrontations started in October when villagers tried to stop Green Fuel tractors that were tilling their fields and this led to the deployment of riot police resulting in some traditional leadership being arrested and detained at Chisumbanje Police Station.
Platform for Youth Development is on record pushing for the re-establishment of an all stakeholder’s platform which effectively led to a progressive and peaceful2013/14 agricultural season. This was effectively monitored by the Professor Mutambara chaired Inter-Ministerial committee of the cabinet of Zimbabwe.
“It is very worrying that Green fuel remains adamant to dialogue and is more dependent on the use of force and superiority tactics despite the sensitivity of land conflicts in Africa. The land conflict is linked to the unfinished business of the liberation struggle, therefore can be emotive and violent,” said Claris Madhuku, PYD Director and a former member of the now defunct District Ethanol Plant Implementation Committee.
Madhuku added that his organization disapprove Green Fuel’s approach which is disrespectful of human rights and a reflection of colonial mentality of land grabbing without following proper channels of land acquisition.
“Green fuel needs to take this strong warning that Chisumbanje and Chinyamukwakwa communities when cornered can be equally sophisticated in defending their territory” said Madhuku.Post published in: Agriculture