The Herald (Harare)

17 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Midlands Authorities Evict Land Invaders

Lloyd Gumbo — Authorities in the Midlands province have embarked on a blitz to evict farm invaders following indications that there are more than 200 illegal settlers in the province.Chief Lands Officer in the province Mr Joseph Shoko said they have since roped in the police to help in removing the land invaders some of whom are also targetting farms owned by beneficiaries of the land reform exercise.

"The issue of illegal settlers has been giving us problems so we are taking people to courts while at the same time engaging the police so that they can help us address the problem," he said.

"For instance, we took some farm invaders at 22 West Gwelo block to court and they were convicted on Wednesday and fined US$200. If they fail to pay then they face six months imprisonment," said Mr Shoko.

"We have engaged the police to help us evict some of these illegal settlers at 49 Wild Beest in Gweru while those at Chemagora in Gokwe have been cooperating."

Mr Shoko said those at Chemagora agreed to be moved to Chirisa National Park in the same district.

He said there are high chances of better harvests in the province this farming season as a result of President Mugabe's farm inputs scheme under which some farmers benefitted.

Mr Shoko said other farmers were however, not utilising their land.

"We are in the process of inspecting farms of beneficiaries who want 99-year leases. Of late, we have had a number of people applying for farms and we are processing those applications," said Mr Shoko.

During a tour of the province last year, Lands and Rural Resettlements Minister Douglas Mombeshora said Government will conduct a land audit of the gazetted and redistributed land to ensure transparency and fairness in the re-allocation process.

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