POLICY guidelines crafted by a non- governmental organization have gone a long way to assist Midlands province local authorities intending to relocate villagers to pave way for various development projects.
The development against a background where rural dwellers in Zimbabwe have borne the burdens of relocation as they pave the way for business and development related projects.
Just a few years back, villagers from Chiadzwa were relocated to Arda Transaal Farm in order to create room for diamonds mining in the Marange community. Their new location does not have adequate space and basic amenities like safe water.
However, Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) is working flat out transform such typical land tenure-based conflicts.
The organisation’s Guidelines and Recommendations for the Compensation of Local Communities Displaced by Growth Point Expansion and Rural Development Projects template has already begun to pay off dividends to the local authorities in the Midlands Province.
“The guidelines and recommendations have become an effective tool for preventing conflicts between local authorities and rural communities facing displacement,” said CCMT in a statement.
Inspired by the policy framework, the Gokwe, Runde, Vungu, Chirumhanzu Rural District Councils, Gokwe and Zvishavane Town Councils have since notified rural communities who are residing in areas earmarked for development projects of the intended projects several years in advance.
“They have also informed the reasons for the said projects, their effects on the community members and a proposed compensation program which is open to debate with the affected communities with a view to reaching mutual agreements,” CCMT said.
Zvishavane and Gokwe Town Councils are using prohibition orders (section 34 of the Regional Town and Country Planning Act) to stop the continuous sprouting of illegal settlements.