HIGH Court judges yesterday reserved judgment on an application by Chilonga villagers who were challenging provisions of the Communal Lands Act arguing that it did not respect African traditional values with regards to land ownership.
The application was heard by Harare High Court judges, Justices Joseph Mafusire, Never Katiyo and Chipo Mungwari.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said the villagers had approached the High Court seeking an order to set aside sections 4 and 6(1)(b) of the Communal Lands Act.
In March, the villagers challenged government’s plans to evict more than 12 000 of them from Chilonga to pave way for a commercial irrigation venture. Initial reports were that the villagers were being evicted to pave way for a lucerne project by Dendairy.
“The Chilonga villagers want the High Court to set aside sections 4 and 6(1)(b) of the Communal Lands Act arguing that the two sections are unconstitutional and offend some provisions of the Constitution,” ZLHR said.
“The Chilonga villagers who are farmers grow sorghum, maize and millet and they argue that the Communal Lands Act denies them the right to self-determination of Africans in Zimbabwe and has no room in post-independent Zimbabwe.”
The lawyers also said Chilonga villagers argued that the Communal Lands Act was a racist and colonial creature, which regarded Africans as uncivilised.
“The villagers queried why an African can own a house in Harare’s plush suburb of Borrowdale, but he cannot own his ancestral home in Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Dotito, Chendambuya, Nyaki or Tsholotsho.”