Home » Judicial » Govt Gets Tough on Illegal Settlers

Government is battling with an increasing number of illegal settlers on farms countrywide and is evicting some of them to restore sanity in resettlement areas.

Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said this week that those who settled themselves would be evicted, but those who had been on the land for at least 10 years would be spared.

“We have resolved that farmers who have been staying for about 10 years should not be removed, but should have their settlements formalised,” he said.

“If the farmers are to be relocated, they will only be moved after an alternative area for settlement has been established.”

Provincial ministers of State told The Herald in separate interviews that the problem of illegal settlers was rife in all provinces and required urgent attention.

They said people who were resettled by Government but did not have proper documentation would have their settlement regularised.

Mashonaland West Minister of State Faber Chidarikire said: “People have been illegally occupying land and sometimes invading land which is not suitable for farming. We have some people who have settled on pastures, while others have invaded other people’s farms. We are going to evict these people.”

Midlands Minister of State Jaison Machaya said illegal settlements were a national problem and needed to be addressed urgently.

“We have identified quite a number of farmers who are illegal and we are going to remove them. Those affected by double allocations will be resettled properly,” he said.

In Mashonaland Central, a number of farmers have been evicted for settling illegally.

Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Aocate Martin Dinha recently discouraged people from allocating themselves land.

“We have land committees at district and provincial levels to give out land to people and no person, small or big, has the right to carelessly parcel land or authorise unlawful land occupation.

“We will deal with such political malcontents who want to gain political mileage through dubious means,” he said.

Affected farmers complained that the move taken by Government was unfair since some of them had occupied the land during the early days of land reforms and developed it.

They argued that they were awaiting offer letters only to be given eviction notices, while some — particularly in Mashonaland Central — had their houses burnt down.

In Mazowe, some farmers said the timing of the evictions was bad since they were about to harvest their crops.

“This is not fair. They have burnt our houses and stocked inputs and evicted us. We are not allowed even to harvest our crops,” said Mazowe farmer Ms Chipo Kangara of Chigumira Farm.

Source : The Herald