GOKWE: The unilateral expansion of land for housing units at Njelele Growth Point has renewed a feud between the local authority and villagers with authorities highlighting that the local authority failed to follow due process in acquiring the land.
The recent stand-off between the local authority and villagers follows yet another feud some four years ago which took the intervention of government and the Centre for Conflict Management Transformation.
The stand-off only ended after villagers who were affected were promised 1000 square metre stands in the growth point but the local authorities now stand accused of extending the area they had agreed on without consulting the villagers.
“Look at what they have done. They took our land that was meant for farming and we came to an agreement. We thought it was enough and now they have decided to expand the part we gave them without even engaging us. How can they do this to us? They are now constructing this road right through my homestead and surely this is unacceptable,” a villager said.
“The way this council is behaving is just inhumane. As old as I am, they want me to remove my huts. Where will I get the money to relocate? They never even bothered to get our views on this extension and has caused a lot of suffering for us,” another villager added.
“These people have gone too far. We have been tolerant to their mischief but we can’t let them get away with this anymore. All I can say is that we are tired of their charade since we are the ones who stand to lose in this deal,” a villager further said.
Authorities also concurred with villagers that the extension of the piece of land by the local authority was done without due process.
“I actually don’t understand how the council executive decided to do this without involving us in the process. I am going to engage the CEO of the rural council over the matter. We were supposed to be engaged on this issue but am surprised that they went ahead and did this without our input,” said Gokwe South District Development Coordinator, Netsai Mushauri.
“The proper procedure is that we were supposed to sit as council and make resolutions that the executive should have followed. Unfortunately, this was not done. Now we have a problem in confronting the community to explain the actions of the council executives. This is indeed a mess that we are faced with,” added Ward 15 councillor, Abraham Nyamazana.
CommuTalk visited the Gokwe South Chief Executive Officer Silas Velapi’s offices who was said to be out on business with several attempts to get him on the phone yielding no positive results as his mobile phone was not going through.