Chief Menyezwa of Lupane in Matabeleland North has expressed grave concern over the unauthorised sale of land by some village heads, often conducted in secrecy and without the knowledge of traditional leaders.
Addressing village heads who attended the Amalima Loko event last week, Chief Menyezwa expressed his disapproval of these practices.
“Our land is gradually diminishing due to overpopulation and the loss of grazing land,” Chief Menyezwa asserted. “As traditional leaders, we are responsible for preserving our land in Matabeleland. However, I have discovered that village heads are now selling stands, even bringing people from Mashonaland to settle here.”
Chief Menyezwa highlighted a recent incident where he and Chief Mabhikwa apprehended village heads involved in such clandestine land deals.
He emphasised that these actions threaten the future of the community and called for a more responsible approach to land management.
“We are facing a population crisis in our area,” he explained. “Grazing lands are becoming scarce, and we cannot continue this unsustainable practice of selling land to outsiders. Our land belongs to our future generations, and we have a duty to preserve it for them.”
Chief Menyezwa urged village heads to prioritise the needs of the local community and refrain from selling land to individuals from other regions. He warned against the potential consequences of these actions, including the loss of natural resources and political influence.
“These outsiders come here and take advantage of our resources and opportunities,” he stated. “They aspire to become councillors and Members of Parliament, seeking to control our affairs. This is why I emphasise the importance of granting land to our own people.”
Chief Menyezwa acknowledged the prevalence of village heads accepting bribes in exchange for land without the knowledge of traditional leaders. He emphasised the importance of transparency and accountability in land allocation decisions.
“Most people approach village heads directly for land acquisition,” he explained. “This is why we are trying to halt these practices. Village heads are receiving money secretly, without our knowledge or consent.”