CHIREDZI West MP, Farai Musikavanhu (Zanu PF) has torched a storm after he commented on behalf of two other legislators with regards to the controversial lucerne grass project in the Chilonga area of Chiredzi.
This was after Musikavanhu commented on behalf of other Members of Parliament, overriding Denford Masiya (Chiredzi East, Zanu PF) and Callisto Gwanetsa (Chiredzi South, Zanu PF).
The project is likely to displace over 12 000 villagers in Chilonga after government on February 26 promulgated Statutory Instrument (SI) 50 of 2021, ordering the villagers to vacate their ancestral land to pave way for the project by Dendairy, a company based in Kwekwe.
Musikavanhu defended government’s interests in the lucerne project, in a video that went viral. His comments were said to be misleading.
“Consultations were done. We saw it and gave thanks as the political leadership.
“Those people (villagers) by virtue of being communal people — they are de facto covered in the process of benefiting from the lucerne project,” Musikavanhu, who is also the ruling party’s provincial secretary for finance, said in a bid to buttress Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira’s earlier statement on the fate of the villagers.
Clause 3 of SI 50 of 2021 reads: “Any person occupying or using the land specified in the schedule, is ordered to depart permanently with all of his or her property from the said land by the date of publication of this notice, unless he or she acquires rights of use or occupation to the said land in terms of section 9(1) of the Communal Land Act [Chapter 20:04].”
Government has since watered down the eviction order by deleting controversial clauses, assuring the villagers that a few of them will be displaced by the project.
Exiled former Tourism minister Walter Mzembi then tweeted, saying Musikavanhu’s comments could be a manifestation of factional politics within Zanu PF as he was commenting on behalf of other MPs, yet his constituency was not affected by the grass project.
Mzembi said Musikavanhu was actually supporting the eviction of his rivals’ voters.
“Strange that being from a different constituency, he (Musikavanhu), supports the eviction of voters for his rivals, Gwanetsa and Masiya. Factional politics is at play,” Mzembi tweeted.
Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana then claimed that the two constituencies which were to be affected by the grass project voted for Musikavanhu.
Mangwana tweeted: “The people of Chiredzi West (where Chilonga is located) elected a representative to promote and protect their interests. Their legislator is Farai Musikavanhu who in this clip weighs in to give his support to the lucerne project which he says is good for his community.”
However, Mangwana later realised that he had made a grave mistake and apologised, but his comments had already been seen by analysts who claimed it was Zanu PF factionalism at play.
SI 50 of 2021 in clause 3 also refers to the Mines and Minerals Act chapter 21:05, which has left may wondering if there are minerals on the land earmarked for the lucerne project.