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Challenging grievous human rights violations and injustice subjected to people of Senior Chief Muchinda

By 25 Nov 2022Nov 29th, 2022Socio-economic Rights Land Rights3 min read
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On 3 February 2022, fifty-five community members (“Petitioners”), with the assistance of the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), filed a Petition in the High Court of Zambia against Mr. Gregg Alexander Badcock and his company Serenje Properties Limited.

The petitioners were, among other things seeking:

  • A declaration and order that the taking over of the Petitioners’ customary land and constructing a dam thereon is unconstitutional and is therefore null and void;
  • A declaration and an order that the Petitioners are to continue enjoying their land in accordance with the customary law of the area and its attendant rights before the attempted construction of the dam;
  • An order to cancel and invalidate any decision to construct the dam which covers the land occupied and the river used and enjoyed by the Petitioners under customary tenure;
  • An order to restore the land back to the Petitioners of the same extent they had historically enjoyed and to restore Munte River to its natural flow;
  • An order of damages and compensation for the destroyed land and for depriving the Petitioners, their families and household access and use of their customary land and the river;
  • An order of damages and compensation for the destroyed for depriving the Petitioners, their families and household access and use of their customary land for cultivation;
  • An order of mandatory requiring Mr Gregg Alexander Badcock and his company Serenje Properties Limited, at its expense, to undertake reasonable and necessary remedial action in relation to the environment and other damages to land, air, water and other environmental aspects of the Petitioners’ natural resources.

Background information

Mr. Gregg Alexander Badcock and his company Serenje Properties Limited have engaged in activities amounting to human and environmental rights violations with impunity. In October 2021, Mr. Gregg Alexander Badcock and Serenje Properties Limited illegally started constructing a dam on Munte River, a river forming a natural boundary between farm owned by Mr Gregg Alexander Badcock and his company Serenje Properties Limited and occupied customary land, displacing over thirty families upstream and affecting numerous downstream in Munte and surrounding areas.

The Munte River is a perennial river with water flowing all year round and thus a significant source of water for communities in Senior Chief Muchinda. As can be seen in this these clips, on 30 October 2021, the Munte River was flowing, and the water remained clean even after Serenje Property Limited’s car drove across it: https://www.mediafire.com/file/ieek93aoetj0sxu/2.mp4/file; and https://www.mediafire.com/file/3zjopzz5zo9kphi/7.mp4/file.

However, on 2 November 2022, the Munte River was completely blocked, denying communities living downstream water, as can be seen here https://www.mediafire.com/file/d0q7fa2crslcchn/8.mp4/file.

When the water was allowed to flow  downstream through a trench or canal, it was so dirty that communities could not use it for domestic purposes, as can be seen here: https://www.mediafire.com/file/aji91eqiyhws93g/9.mp4/file.

Moreover, during the Covid 19 restrictions, Mr Gregg Alexander Badcock has also destroyed the forest that the downstream communities depend on for survival. https://www.mediafire.com/file/b1zjtt6mcmykdiv/6.mp4/file

and  https://www.mediafire.com/file/n5enqz31kilhyl3/3.mp4/file

The massive destruction of forests and vegetation and the dam’s construction on Munte River were undertaken without an Environmental Impact Assessment and without obtaining prior Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) approval.