Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Chisumbanje villagers furious over lack of consultation for Ethanol project

Chisumbanje villagers furious over lack of consultation for Ethanol project

Lack of consultation infuriates Chisumbanje villagers

A week of drama has been experienced in Chisumbanje as over a thousand 
villagers refused to be cowed by Macdom pvt ltd.The much publicised Ethanol 
project hangs on a thread if the Macdom and ARDA remains stubborn by 
imposing and defining the project as irreversible against basic 
communication skills. A consultation meeting by the cabinet representative 
on the 15th of August, as well as that by the company on the 18th of August 
2011 has failed to break the impasse.

The company through their Human Resources Manager Mr. Zuze agreed that they 
are responsible for the destruction of crops belonging to the residents 
since 2008,” we are consulting with Agritex to establish the value of the 
destroyed crops so that we start compensation” Zuze admitted. This statement 
was made at a meeting at Chisumbanje on the 18th of August. More than one 
thousand villagers including Chief Garahwa, Headman 
Chisumbanje,Chinyamukwakwa and Matikwa attended.

In response to the admission by the company through Zuze,a resolution by the 
villagers was made-
That there will be no talks/engagements with neither the company nor ARDA 
concerning their land until farmers whose crops were destructed since 2008 
have been compensated satisfactorily.

The villagers have since refuted instructions by the company spoken through 
J.C Mundoma, the Chief Executive Officer of ARDA Chipinge. He provided dates 
for the community to meet the company at their fields to establish their 
hectrage.The villagers’ responded angrily for this imposition of dates when 
in actual fact there was no background and proper communication as to the 
purpose of the meetings. When Mundoma insisted on the project as 
irreversible because the community was less important than government 
interests a resolution was made for him and his JEPAC team.

That the villagers has lost confidence in the D.A Noel Mundeta and his 
team(Mundoma included),therefore appeals for a fresh team, should there be 
need for talks/engagements in this matter.
The community also raised concern that the intended consultations were bent 
on dividing people as well as cheating them. The community sighted the 
imposition of weak members who are not convincingly representative as much 
as they are not familiar with community interests. To this effect a third 
resolution was made.

That Platform for Youth Development Trust [PYD} will remain the 
representative of the Chisumbanje, Chinyamukwakwa and Matikwa communities is 
resolving this land dispute with Macdom pvt ltd with her sister companies.

Platform for Youth Development has been working with the villagers on this 
matter since 2008.Since then, the company has been invading the truth by 
claiming that PYD was not mandated and therefore not fit to be given a table 
talk. It appears, they have not yet learnt the mathematics of community 
projects.PYD has already engaged Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Bere 
Brothers who have since filed a court application at the high court of 
Zimbabwe to stop Macdom pvt ltd and her sister companies from encroaching 
the boundaries they have since agreed with ARDA.

It is important to note that PYD is a pressure group that is community based 
and well equipped to mediate in this dispute. Macdom management have failed 
dismally to respect the community. In addition to handpicking war veterans 
(only to abuse their titles), they use hate language and political rhetoric 
to intimidate the community into submission. All their efforts having failed 
they have again introduced fliers lambasting the director of PYD Mr Claris 
Madhuku and one of the community strongmen Wedzerai Gwenzi. In their 
laughable messages, they are claiming that these two men are organising the 
community in pursuit of political power. Someone must advise them, that they 
are dampening relations at the time they need them most.

”The allegations are baseless and nonsensical, am passionate about my 
community and will break my bones in defence of genuine and community 
empowering development”Madhuku said.

‘As far as i am concerned, Macdom and ARDA representatives risk 
embarrassment of a generation if they continue being stubborn without bowing 
down to consider talking. The community will do everything peaceful to 
demand their rights against imposition of development. The community has no 
problem with the plant operating within the 5 112 hectares where there is no 
conflict, the problem comes when they start operating illegal by encroaching 
into the community before there is a binding agreement” Madhuku fumed.

The court application is meant to inform the company and ARDA that the 
community is determined and spirited to pursue justice. However the courts 
are not the ONLY option available. The community is prepared to make history 
of a monumental stature to display community power against imposition of the 
so called development.

Platform for Youth Development is very much concerned that the company has 
failed on the Indigenization and Land policies of the country. So far most 
of our young people in the area lie idle despite the company claiming at the 
international level that they are employing the community members. Over 
eighty (80%) of the company’s work force is coming far away from Chisumbanje 
and Chipinge. The community feels cheated and taken for granted by the 
management who daily harasses employees.PYD has authoritative reports of 
discrimination, harassment and bad labour practices at the company.ZCTU and 
NEC must visit this place to protect workers’ rights with immediacy.

“If the Ethanol plant is to function without community interruptions, it was 
recommended for the management to take their community relations seriously”Wedzerai 
Gwenzi, spokesperson for the community said.
”How are we expected to simply accept a deal that displaces people without 
taking concern of our cultural concerns and our fore fathers graves am a 
traditional leader who gets power from the people” said Headmen, Forichi 

Facts available indicates that when Macdom Pvt Ltd entered into the 
agreement, it was believed that ARDA would provide the 45 000 hectares but 
it was latter realized that the ARDA only had 5 112 hectares hence the 
decision to displace villagers to secure the deficit. It is a pity that ARDA 
officials Macdom are taking advantage of the vulnerable villagers to dictate 
to them what they want to do on their land without their consent. The 
company officials connived with the District Administrator (D.A) who then 
gave the directive to Chief Garahwa as if it was coming from the government. 
It is important to expose those who are clandestinely involved in this deal.

Macdom is owned by a close Zanu (PF) ally Billy Rautenbach who is rumoured 
to be one of the party’s financing partners. While the development of 
bio-fuels is a desirable initiative especially in Zimbabwe, it however 
leaves a lot to be desired as to how a responsible company could impose 
itself to the people without any benefit to the locals. Platform for Youth 
Development is working closely with the traditional leadership, councillors 
and members of parliament in the three constituencies to be affected by the 

Rautenbach is not new to major financial scandals with a bad reputation in 
both South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rautenbach was also 
recently deported from the DRC after government officials established that 
he was looting diamonds from the mineral rich country.


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