ZELA Takes Large Scale Investments And Land Rights Researches to Local Universities
ZELA TAKES LARGE SCALE INVESTMENTS AND LAND RIGHTS RESEARCHES TO LOCAL UNIVERSITIES
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has taken their two researches to local universities. In 2017, ZELA with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) commissioned and conducted an empirical research in the Chisumbanje and Chiredzi sugar cane projects. Under the project entitled “Strengthening Community Land Rights and Responses to Involuntary Displacements Caused by Development Projects in Zimbabwe”, ZELA published a massive research entitled “The impact of large-scale investments on the livelihoods of smallholder farming communities: The cases of Green Fuels and Tongaat Hullett Zimbabwe”. This research was made possible and credible with the involvement of the Ministry of Agriculture which worked tirelessly together with ZELA to do the empirical research and data collection using different methodologies of research such as door to door questioners and focus discussion groups around Chisumbanje area and Chiredzi areas. The research unearthed a number of land related issues. As an Environmental Law organisation dealing with legal reforms and policy reforms, a desktop research to address the unearthed legal and policy issues by the empirical research was further published by ZELA entitled, “Legal, Policy and Institutional Frameworks for community land rights in the wake of developmental projects in Zimbabwe: Challenges and way forward”. These two researches are the researches which were taken to the universities by ZELA with the support of the IDRC.
The two universities that got the chances to have the researches shared with them were the Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo on the 14th of May 2018 at the Hebert Chitepo Law School. To stimulate discussions, Darlington Chidarara of ZELA shared the background of the researches and the results of the 1st research. Dr Tsabora had been tasked to deliver the legal crux of the research and he engaged the students on a journey of a lifetime where he presented findings of the legal research in an interesting way. He reworked the issues to come up with a paper entitled, “Property and Traditional Rights: New Interpretive Paradigms”. The topic stimulated a huge response from the students. Dr Tsabora was selected to present on the account that he is a land rights and property rights expert and has heavily written around that area. He has also worked closely with ZELA and assisted in editing of the 2 ZELA researches. He is also the newly appointed ZEGU Deal of Law Faculty.
ZELA took the research to Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU) on the 2nd of June 2018. Tafadzwa Dhlakama made a presentation on “Legal, Policy and institutional frameworks for community land rights in the wake of developmental projects in Zimbabwe: Challenges and way forward”. The research dissemination by ZELA at ZEGU stimulated the young law school into over an hour of discussions and debate. Tafadzwa Dhlakama who presented is a newly appointed property law lecturer at the Hebert Chitepo Law School and prior to that, he was a ZELA Legal Officer who assisted in the writing of the shared ZELA researches.
The dissemination of the researches at the two university were a great success as out of these university guest lectures ZELA has decided to continue with further engagements with universities in two ways. The first way being a research writing competition where the students will do a legal research on land rights and displacements focusing on the theme “Strengthening Community Land Rights and Responses to Involuntary Displacements Caused by Development Projects in Zimbabwe.” The best students from each university will receive prizes from ZELA. Secondly, ZELA has decided to develop student chapters or associations which will focus on environmental law.
Part of the GZU participants of the guest lecture
Dr Tsabora delivering the guest lecture at GZU
Complied by Darlington Chidarara