20 January 2019

Zimbabwe: Govt Evicts Villagers to Pave Way for Game Park

The 1 000 Masvingo families who have been living at Mzaro Farm near Sikato resettlement area since 2000, are being evicted to pave way for the establishment of a game park, The Standard has established.

The families from seven villages, namely Muza, Chikutuva, Manunure, Makasva, Banga, Sithole and Marikutira under Chief Mugabe, have been living at Mzaro Farm, which used to belong to a white commercial farmer before it was parcelled out to them.

They were recently served with eviction notices whose deadline was January 15. Government has, however, not yet demolished their structures or forced them out. The villagers said they had nowhere to go and neither did they have money to rebuild elsewhere.

In an interview on the sidelines of the opening of the 2019 legal year at the Masvingo High Court, Provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira said the villagers -- some living on the shores of the country's second biggest inland dam, Lake Mutirikwe -- had caused massive siltation in the water body.

"There are plans to establish a game park at the area, as you know it's a few kilometres from the Great Zimbabwe Monuments," Chadzamira said.

He also said the villagers had contributed to dropping water levels in the lake since they lived on the dam catchment area.

"Some of the villagers are living on the dam catchment area. This has an effect on the dam water levels, as you know water levels have been dropping over the years," Chadzamira said.

He added that the villagers had illegally settled on the land which belongs to the state and had failed to regularise their stay.

"All rural land is state land. There is no village head who owns land. The villagers did not regularise their stay there," Chadzamira said.

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