Land invasions: Zanu (PF) pledges crackdown

All top Zanu (PF) officials who incited illegal land invasions ahead of the July 31 elections in order to drum up support for themselves should urgently withdraw their people as that was never the party’s campaign strategy, says the new Lands and Resettlement Minister .

Douglas Mombeshora
Douglas Mombeshora

Douglas Mombeshora made the bold statement while speaking to district land committees in the city this week.

“We have noted with grave concern that some of our top officials illegally settled people from their constituencies on undesignated land in order to win their votes. But that was not a directive from the party.

“All those officials who did such things should urgently go back and remove their people from undesignated farms. We do not want to name and shame or embarrass them,” said Mombeshora.

Most land invasions in Midlands Province ahead of the elections were reported in Gokwe. About 150 families illegally occupied Chemagora farm just outside the town centre in a development understood to have been instigated by top Zanu (PF) officials. The Environmental Management Agency complained of illegal settlements on wetlands around Gokwe, but Governor Jaison Machaya quickly moved in and regularised these settlements.

Machaya came under heavy criticism when he engineered the settlement of Gokwe villagers in the Chirisa Game Park.

Other illegal settlements were reported in Gweru’s peri-urban areas, which fall under the Chiundura constituency won by Zanu (PF)’s Kizitho Chivamba. Wellington Ngulube, the Vungu Rural District Council Chief Executive officer who complained about the issue, was subsequently fired by the Provincial Administrator Cecilia Chitiyo who was fingered in the illegal settlements.

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