31 January 2015
   
New Zimbabwe Header
Harare vendors in anti-graft demo
Life was sweet under GNU, research
Zanu PF senator exposes self in Parly
MDC-T asks court to stop by-elections
Mwonzora theft trial set for March
Farmer to be evicted against Mphoko order
Teachers ask Mugabe to lift punishment ban
Mugabe takes over as new AU chair
MORE NEWS
Bellevue gets $10m for fast food venture
No experiments with economy, RBZ chief
MORE BUSINESS
SABC's Simba Mhere dies
Tuku takes the Black Spirits to America
MORE SHOWBIZ
Bulawayo bowl clubs in sorry state
Cricket: Zim face tough world cup mission
MORE SPORTS
Magaisa: Outlawing corporal punishment
Inclusive Democracy: Power to the People
MORE OPINION
 
AU chair: routine but not 'revolutionary'
Candid short history and reality check
MORE COLUMNISTS
 
 
Zanu PF led illegal settlements destroy 30 000 timber hectares
05/04/2014 00:00:00
by Staff Reporters
 
Illegal settlements...Common among vote seeking politicians
 
RELATED STORIES

OVER 30 000 hectares of timber plantations in Chimanimani have been destroyed by thousands of villagers who were illegally settled there by Zanu PF politicians during the election period.

Environment minister and top Zanu PF politician, Saviour Kasukuwere admitted during a recent tour of the timber plantations, illegal settlements have had their toll on the commercially viable produce.

"To date 30 000 hectares of plantations have been lost to illegal settlements,” Kasukuwere said while commissioning the Allied Timbers’ $1 million Gwindingwe Sawmill Plant.

“The challenge has been coupled with uncontrolled fires which destroy vast tracks of plantations as settlers try to clear land for agricultural purposes."

Allied Timbers CEO, Joseph Kanyekanye, told Kasukuwere his company has failed to recover its land from the invaders who have strong backing from local top politicians.

"We have been battling with these people but it did not bear any fruits. When we try to evict them, it generates a lot controversy,” said Kanyekanye.

“The only way we can solve this is when government finds alternative land somewhere in Middle Sabi and the foresters will fund the relocation exercise."

But Timber Producers Federation (TPF) CEO, Johnson Mhungu, felt they could not carry the burden of finding land and relocating the settlers.

"Where do we get land to settle people? We are the ones who have been invaded and then where are we expected to get alternative land to settle these people?" Mhungu said.

The settlers claimed they were resettled by Zanu-PF politicians during the run-up to the 2008 elections where they were made to vote for Chimanimani East MP, Samuel Undenge.

Apart from living at the suspicious generosity of the Zanu PF politicians, the villagers said they did not have any offer letters.

A local Zanu-PF politician, Joshua Saco, blamed the crisis on the district lands committee he said has not been giving the matter any serious attention, right from its beginning some four years ago.

"This is a sensitive matter minister (Kasukuwere). It needs people to sit down and find a long lasting solution," he said.

The villagers further denied burning the plantations through veld fires, insisting the timber producers were lying.

Kasukuwere however failed to commit himself to any tangible solution to the crisis although he pledged government assistance towards capacitating producers of timber, which has potential to earn the country scarce foreign currency.

"As government, we are aware of the challenges facing the timber industry and we are ready to help revive it. We are serious about it," he said.

He also urged the companies to play their part in meeting their own corporate social responsibility end.

This is after the villagers in the area had accused the companies of exploiting the wealth generated by the land at the expense of their health, education, water and sanitation needs in timber producing areas.

Kasukuwere was accompanied during the tour by his deputy minister Simon Masamvu and ministry secretary Prince Mupazviriho.
 



Advertisement


 
Email this to a friend Printable Version Discuss This Story
Share this article:

Digg it

Del.icio.us

Reddit

Newsvine

Nowpublic

Stumbleupon

Face Book

Myspace

Fark
 
 
 
comments powered by Disqus
 
RSS NewsTicker