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    Tuesday, 12 December 2017

    Mberengwa RDC, villagers sign Growth Point expansion agreement


    MATAGA – Mberengwa Rural District Council (RDC) and the Gorongwe Community have signed an expansion agreement for Mataga Growth Point following a 23-year wrangle.
    The Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) was signed at Gorongwer Village two weeks ago after the intervention of the Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) which brought together the warring parties.
    CCMT is an organisation that resolves conflicts and it was drawn into the conflict by Mberengwa RDC to resolve the land dispute.
    The disagreements between council and the Gorongwe community that comprises 79 families resulted in the local authority failing to implement its plans to expand the Growth Point's residential area Eastwards from 1994 up to date because this area is owned by the villagers.
    The Gorongwe community area stretches along Zvishavane-Ngungumbane Road, south of Mutorahuku stream and consists of two villages Chipedza and Chagwiza.
    The deal was finally struck after Council agreed to include the villagers who are going to lose their land into Chomakudo and Chipedza irrigation schemes. There are about 700 stands that are going to be developed on the land and council also agreed that 79 villagers will each get a 450 square meter residential stand in the developed suburbs.
    Addressing guests at the signing ceremony Mberengwa RDC CEO Julius Mashavakure said the two warring parties have  since 1994 failed to agree on the expansion of Mataga which meant that for 23 years the development planned for the area could not take place.
    The community argued that the land was theirs on which they depended for their livelihood and therefore could not cede it.
    Council argued that as stated in the Communal Lands ACT, they held in trust all communal land that was under the jurisdiction of Mberengwa District, and as stated in the RDC Act, they had the authority to acquire land for the purposes of development in the area.
    Serious negotiations only started after 2014 when CCMT got involved in the discussions.
    CCMT representative Xavier Mudangwe said the MOA highlighted that the expansion of Mataga growth point will mutually benefit all parties as it will usher not only residential stands for the community but development as well. The agreement also highlighted that 79 villagers from Chipedza and Chagwiza villages will benefit stands and only pay a service charge at normal rates.
    "Dialogue is very important in resolving dispute and we are happy that our intervention in 2014 has led to this agreement," said Mudangwe.
    Gorongwe community chairperson Samuel Nkomo said he was happy with the agreement.
    Chief Mataga (Malaini Nkomo) council's initial approach to the issue antagonised the villagers who dug in resulting in zero development for 23 years.
    The MOA was signed by Mashavakure, council chairman Rupee Ncube, Chief mataga, ward 18 councilor Ben Mataga, Nkomo, Village Head Chipedza alias Servious Mataka, Village Head Chagwiza alias Njeke Bindura and Mberengwa DA Stewart Chiwanga.
    The event was graced by top government officials from the Ministry of Local governance, District administrators, and representatives from other local authorities, CCMT officials, villagers and traditional leaders among others.

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