BY VICFALLS REPORTER
The High Court has stopped the eviction of more than 100 Hwange villagers from their ancestral land to make way for a Formula One grade motor racing course.
Hwange Rural District Council leased 500 hectares of land to Stelix Civils to construct the race course that will have affected villagers from Chibode, Kachecheti and Nemananga wards.
Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa stopped the evictions after the villagers with help from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) challenged the lease agreement, saying the development will disrupt their way of life.
“The villagers argued that they were not consulted and were not offered alternative land, hence Stelix Civils’ conduct amounts to arbitrary eviction, which violates provisions of section 74 of the constitution,” the ZLHR said.
“After being aggrieved by the decision of the Hwange Rural District Council, the more than 100 villagers in three villages of Chidobe, Kachechete and Nemanhanga engaged Josephat Tshuma of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who on 16 November 2021 filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court to review the decision by the Hwange Rural District Council to allocate 500 hectares of land to Stelix Civils as the proposed project was taking away a large chunk of their communal land and effectively taking over their grazing area.
“On 15 September 2022, Justice Kabasa ruled that the decision made by the local authority to allocate 500 hectares of land to Stelix Civils was unlawful.”
Kabasa said council had no authority to allocate land to Stelix Civils to establish the racing course.
“Accordingly, Justice Kabasa set aside the Hwange Rural District Council’s decision to grant a lease agreement to Stelix Civils for the construction of a racing course and declared that any actions and conduct that had been taken by the local authority following the granting of a lease agreement to Stelix Civils, are invalid,” the ZLHR added.
Chinese-funded power plant expansion project in Zimbabwe set for commissioning
Chinese firm Sinohydro undertook the project, adding 600 MW to Hwange Thermal Power Station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant.
The project will be commissioned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday.
Zhemu said at a press conference that recent media reports predicting a return to prolonged power cuts after August were false, as Zimbabwe is now guaranteed adequate power supplies in the short-to-medium term.
He said Unit 7 is already feeding into the grid after the successful completion of tests in June and is now commercially available for operation. Unit 8 is also undergoing a similar test and is expected to be available commercially by August or September this year.
“So there is no way that we are going back to the past where we used to experience long hours of load shedding,” Zhemu added.
Five die in Binga traffic accident
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
A Stallion Cruise bus overturned in Binga on Sunday morning killing five passengers on board, police have revealed.
According to witnesses, the bus which was travelling to Bulawayo was reportedly speeding when the accident happened.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the bus overturned and landed on its roof in the Sikalenge area between Siabuwa and Binga centre.
“The ZRP confirms a fatal road traffic accident which occurred on 16/07/23 in the morning near Masumo Bridge, Samende area, Binga in which a Stallion Cruise bus travelling from Siabuwa to Binga overturned,” Nyathi said.
“The ZRP confirms that five people were killed whilst the number of injured is yet to be ascertained.”
The bus reportedly veered off the road at a sharp curve near the Masumu River bridge at around 7AM.
The accident comes barely a week after the same bus caught fire in Mutare on July 11 and all passengers escaped unharmed.
Zimbabwe declares its own load shedding over, but locals are sceptical
Zimbabwe’s government on Tuesday announced a sudden end of blackouts that have crippled businesses and left millions of households without electricity for up to 19 hours a day.
The information ministry said a cabinet meeting had “noted with satisfaction” that the power utility “has announced the end to load shedding as a result of the interventions implemented” by the government.
The statement did not give details of the steps taken to end the load shedding.
The southern African country has for years been reeling under severe power shortages.
They worsened late last year when the main electricity supply, a hydro plant at the giant Kariba Dam in the north, suffered very low water levels caused by recurring droughts.
In March the power utility company said it had launched a new 300MW coal-fired unit with Chinese finance in a bid to ease repeated power outages.
But Zimbabweans greeted the news of the end of outages with scepticism, as some said they were sitting in the dark as the announcement was made.
One Zimbabwean @sammie541 tweeted “funny (be)cause we actually don’t have…(electricity) now”, adding her Harare neighbourhood had been without power since Monday.
Other Zimbabweans questioned on Twitter if the announcement was not strategically timed ahead of national elections due next month.
The country goes to the polls on August 23 to elect a president and legislature.
Eighty-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced strongman ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017 after a military-led coup, is seeking re-election.
But he faces a disaffected population that is battling hyperinflation, poverty and high unemployment.
Official figures placed inflation at 175.8% in June, up from 86.5% in May, but Johns Hopkins University professor of applied economics Steve Hanke believes real inflation in Zimbabwe is more than 1 000%.
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