Zanu (PF) supporters denied offer letters

The government has refused to issue new offer letters to Zanu (PF) supporters who were encouraged to invade timber estates in the run-up to last year’s elections.

Michael Mutupo – “I have nowhere to go. This is the only place I know”.
Michael Mutupo – “I have nowhere to go. This is the only place I know”.

During their election campaigns, deputy minister of finance and Chimanimani East MP Samuel Undenge and Joshua Sacco, a Zanu (PF) farmer allegedly known for promoting political violence against the MDC-T in Manicaland, ordered the party supporters to invade properties owned by Border Timbers and Allied Timbers. The invaders cut down timber to build their homes and establish farming communities.

Prior to the elections, Undenge and Sacco told supporters that no-one would evict them if the party won the elections. But, a year after Robert Mugabe declared a landslide victory over the MDC-T, the settlers are being denied the new offer letters introduced by government this year.

“It was an election gimmick to get votes. I had built proper houses with bricks and tin roofs. It was electioneering and now I have been told to leave because we were settled illegally,” said Thomas Beure.

Other affected areas include Nyaruwa, Westward Hall and Ward 10 Chikukwa where the party supporters are being told to leave the land.

Another farmer said they had tried to talk to Undenge and Sacco to have their support but they had been evasive.

“It is surprising that Undenge and Sacco are now nowhere to be seen. We have been used,” said the farmer.

The government has informed the settlers that a deadline will soon be announced and they expect everyone without an offer letter to leave.

Michael Mutupo, another affected farmer, said: “What will I do with my harvested maize? I have nowhere to live. This is the only place I know.”

Zimbabwe’s timber federation has said it will petition the government over the destruction of forestry areas, which has included the invasion of land by illegal settlers.

Thousands of people, most of them Zanu (PF) supporters masquerading as war veterans have moved into the areas under the guise of the land reform programme, burning down the trees to make room for crops.

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