Call for transparency and non-partisan public consultation in the Chilonga-Dendairy project
MACRAD began operating around the Chilonga and Masimavele areas long before the law ordering the immediate eviction of the Hlengwe-Xangani from their ancestral lands was passed. This was long before Dendairy declared and published his interest in the land. Since then, we have worked with over 30 village leaders around the subject.
The fears of the Hlengwe-Xangani ethnic group commonly referred to as the Chilonga community are not unfounded. Without any consultation, the government ordered hundreds of families in the Chilonga and Masimavele area to immediately pack their bags and disappear. These are not allegations. Through Statutory Instrument 50 of 2020, the government ordered anyone residing in the identified area to “definitely leave with all their property from the said land”. It was only after public outbursts and legal petitions that the government took a step back and withdrew the decree.
Fast forward to February 2022, Dendairy has finally opened up to the public and declared his interests in Chilonga and Masimavele. The company released a statement emphasizing that affected communities will be engaged. Part of the statement reads as follows; “After dialogue at the leadership level, the engagement process will trickle down to the villages for accuracy in interpreting the facts of the project.”
Prior to the release of the statement, Dendairy’s head of corporate communications had a meeting with reporters at the Flamboyant Hotel in Masvingo. She explained that the project will convert Chilonga and Masimavele into an export-oriented green belt and transform the way agriculture is done in the region while dramatically increasing living standards.
Read the full statement here (3MB PDF)