Resettled villagers in Nyamandlovu up in arms with Zanu occupant who denies them water

Villagers in Ward 4 under Redbank around Nyamandlovu in Matabeleland North are up in arms with one of the settlers at a farm where they were resettled, accusing him of denying them access to water and taking over their grazing lands.

The villagers said they were now forced to fetch water from the ‘heavily polluted’ Khami River yet they were resettled in that farm in 2000 as part of the land reform programme.

Speaking to CITE on conditions of anonymity as they fear victimisation, the resettled villagers said the issue started in 2009 when Jonathan Sibanda, known as Nkanyezi moved into the farm which was previously owned by a white farmer.

“I am one of the villagers in Pointnewd Village 4 under Redbank. We are in a resettlement farm (Gazetted as A1 farm) but Nkanyezi who was given a homestead here has been harassing us for years. He is denying us access to a water source inside the homestead, saying it’s his plot,” said one of the affected villagers.

“It seems Nkanyezi is using his ruling party ticket card to do as he pleases but other party members on ground are saying they don’t know him.”

The affected villagers claimed that Nkanyezi was also denying them resources such as river sand, which he was now selling.

“These are some of the resources we are supposed to benefit as villagers. As it is we are not allowed to extract river sand, lorries are fetching it and paying money to him. When have try to engage the Ministry of Lands, but have received no joy yet we are oppressed in our land.”

The villagers said they are concerned about Nkanyezi’s conduct as their livestock were not accessing grazing land.

“Nkanyezi has even pegged the land to other people without even consulting us villagers,” said one of the villagers.

The resettled villagers added that when Nkanyezi came to the farm around 2009, he started selling some of the property which he found in the plot.

Nkanyezi is also accused of failing to construct his own housing structures.

“Nkanyezi said we shouldn’t fetch water and we have resorted to fetching water from Khami River due to shortage of water sources around here.”

The villagers also said when Nkanyezi arrived at the farm, he let his cattle graze in their farms that they had ploughed.

“He said the land was part of his boundary, citing that he is an A2 farmer. Nkanyezi is also arrogant when villagers approach him, calling himself Big Overtrain,“ claimed one of the villagers.

Contacted for a comment, Sibanda denied the allegations and claimed he was the victim instead.

“I was the first to take land as a war veteran from Umguza to Bubi. I was the one who was organised war veterans to access land yet these are same people who are now complaining when I am the one who helped put them there,” he said.

Sibanda said initially the farm was supposed to be occupied by 10 people only.

“I took these same villagers from areas such as Munyoro, Mindora and brought them to this farm. Some of them were settled in Mazizini after Nyamandlovu. We then pegged land for them, including orchards and farms,” he said.

Sibanda added that during this process of pegging land as chairpersons they had indicated prior they wanted plots.

“I was in Alis Dale around that time, as war veterans we had said we wanted plots and registered that. When the white owner ran away to Australia, I was called since I wanted a plot, to go and check that farm, I came here and told them I can occupy the plot. I had to go to the Ministry of Lands so that they can peg the area for me and I know my boundaries.”

Sibanda said the villagers then started complaining that they no longer had grazing lands.
“I told them that my land was off limits for them as their grazing area was beyond the plot. I also told them to approach the Ministry of Lands if they had problems with that.”

He added, “I am the one who is mostly targeted because this looks like a political matter.”

Sibanda also denied the allegations that he has illegally resettled more people there.

“These villagers went to look for more people on top of the 10 that were ideally supposed to be there.

The occupants then became 30, but I am sure they are now more that 60 people staying there,” he said.“All these people are expected to come to my plot but that is a big no and this is the main issue.”

Sibanda said he even wrote a letter to President Emmerson Mngangagwa concerning this matter.

“The Commission from the Ministry of Lands even came here to investigative this matter. The commission asked the villagers if the Ministry of Lands showed them the boundaries and they denied but they were aware of the set boundaries,” he said.

Sibanda added they were expecting the Ministry of Lands to visit the area on November 22, 2023 to show the villagers their boundaries.

“I as Nkanyezi, even gave them fertile fields after noticing that the pegged areas in which they were farming was infertile but they are still fighting me when I am trying to help them. So I have to remove them from the fertile land and they can go back to their original farms, because they are fighting me,” said Sibanda.

“When it comes to water, I told them to put pipes and a jojo tank so that they can access water closer to them but they are failing to do so wanting me to do it for them.”

“Nevertheless I think this matter is coming to an end as we are expecting the Ministry of Lands to come on ground.”

Sibanda added, “We are suffering here, we fought very hard to get this land. Now I am the one who’s wrong yet I have never seen anyone bringing me mealie meal here since they started farming here. I am the victim.”

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