Villagers accuse Bulilima chief of selling communal land

Villagers along Diba Road in Bulilima, Plumtree are angry with Chief Mphini and are accusing him of selling communal land to people they claim are from other places.

Communal Land means land set aside under an Act of Parliament and held in accordance with customary law by members of a community under the leadership of a Chief.

People who bought this communal land were now resettling on their grazing fields, according to villagers who talked to CITE on the condition of anonymity because they feared victimisation.

One of the village heads in Ndiweni Village along Diba confirmed the villagers were raising valid concerns.

“It is true and it is happening. The people are telling the truth, representatives from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Committee (ZACC) have even visited us and taught us how we can expose such issues but it seems people are scared,” he said.

According to the village chief, the issue is now dividing the locals.

“Chief Mphini is selling the land together with the village head. The chief is just selling land everywhere, even on grazing areas, river banks, without even consulting villagers that he is settling people,” claimed the village head, adding that the chief was even resettling people at land reserved for council offices.

“Bulilima council is expected to evacuate from Plumtree Town and have its own offices at Ndiweni but the Chief has already resettled people in that reserved land.”

When contacted for a comment, Chief Jabulani Mphini denied allegations that he was selling communal land and explained the  circumstances involving that land.

“The first point is communal land is not for sale. There are different headmen whose villagers were evicted by White people long ago on the pretext that they had settled at the river bank and these people were removed and taken to other areas. Another issue is that the area is close to council shops, so it seems like the council was also pegging land there to put residential stands. The village heads are now complaining that their grave sites are located there, so it’s better for their children to be the ones who are resettled there,” Chief Mphini said.

“As for selling land, I am not aware of that. Maybe this was said by someone who is not satisfied or they looked for a stand and didn’t get it. I have also heard about these claims but the people haven’t approached me.”

Chief Mphini added the Bulilima council had approached him saying people should not be resettled across the whole area as it wanted to develop that area.

“So we now have a conflict between council and community leadership. But the constitution is clear that communal land is not for sale, people are just given land,” he said.

The chief also stated the villagers feared the council was going to give the land to other people while they as locals did not benefit.

“So this is the problem that people are faced with, but we know there are graves there,” he added, noting that villagers should approach him for further clarifications.

“We know there are rumours about grazing land but they are looking at this matter from  a different angle. They can come and ask what is happening so that we explain what is going on. Why don’t they approach me and I call a meeting with the village head and explain.”

Chief Mphini added: “How will I evict someone who has wronged me from the area after selling them communal land? Everyone in that area is from that place.”

The village head, Silungile Moyo, also denied the allegations that she and the chief were selling communal land.

“I have no idea about these claims.  I don’t know about this matter, I only know that people are given stands, I am not aware that these are being sold, I don’t have evidence to say they are being sold,” she said.

The village head said she only knows that people were given land as long as they were a Zimbabwean citizen.

“A Zimbabwean citizen has a right to get land if they ask for a place to stay, that is what I know,” Moyo said.

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One Comment

  1. Some time s people they have to tell the truth lead us being sold we know . I’m One them I bought it for R3000

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