By ZLHR MUTARE High Court Judge Justice Isaac Muzenda has stopped the arbitrary eviction of families of five villagers including the demolition of their homesteads after prohibiting Makoni Rural District Council from interfering with their settlement. The villagers, who are unemployed and are subsistence farmers, settled in Nemaire Village 24 in Makoni District in Manicaland province in 2011, where they built their homesteads and are all descendants of former farm workers having become homeless after Bingaguru Farm was compulsorily acquired by government. The villagers namely Milton Juma, Joshua Msindo, Angeline Mariko, Markington Mupazi and Tinashe Mushamaenza sought land in Nemaire village and were given some plots and integrated into the village by Village Head Amandos Kariyo with the consent of Chief Makoni in terms of the Traditional Leaders Act. But authorities at Makoni Rural District Council who entered into a partnership with Sports Leaders Institute of Zimbabwe sought to evict them from their homesteads as it intended to erect a boundary fence and a fireguard and accused them of illegally settling themselves in the area. This compelled Juma, Msindo, Mariko, Mupazi and Mushamaenza, who were assisted by Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, to file an urgent chamber application at Mutare High Court where they protested against the actions of Makoni Rural District Council in seeking to deprive them of shelter. In his ruling, Justice Muzenda, said Makoni Rural District Council should be a law abiding local authority and prohibited it from evicting the five villagers and not to demolish their homes withoutobtaining a valid court order.
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