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Govt will not allow lawlessness – says Minister as thousands of illegal settlers are evicted and arrested

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By Anna Chibamu


GOVERNMENT has defended its eviction and arrest of thousands of illegal settlers across the country saying it cannot allow lawlessness to continue.

Leader of Government Business in Parliament and Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told Speaker Jacob Mudenda during a Q and A session Wednesday that those who occupied land unprocedurally should return to their previous homes.

 

Ziyambi was responding to a Zanu PF member of Parliament Chamu Chiwanza who had queried the current arrests and evictions of “illegal settlers”.

 

Chiwanza said, “I have great concerns about the current evictions and arrests of illegal settlers. What is government policy on the resettlement of landless people?”

To date,  a total of 3 775 illegal settlers have been arrested for occupying gazetted land in ZRP’s blitz code-named ‘Operation No Land Barons and Illegal Settlements’ which started in January this year. 985 have been convicted with 3 360 cases pending trial across the country.

ZRP national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the developments with notable arrests effected in Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Matabeleland South and North.

In some areas, the settlers have had their infrastructure demolished by council authorities despite following the resettling procedures, while others paid village heads or Chiefs.

On Tuesday, some MPs raised the same matter in Parliament on a point of national interest urging the government to be sensitive as the evictions are happening during the rainy season and a deadly cholera outbreak.

Ziyambi acknowledged the concerns of the MPs but warned citizens to respect the laws of the land.

“While I acknowledge the concerns of Hon. Chiwanza. We now have a problem whereby people believe that they can do whatever they want.

“There is no regard for laws by certain individuals and the government took a position that people must go back where they were before settling at undesignated places. They must follow the necessary procedures until they are allocated land and this is the process that is taking place,” Ziyambi said.

He admitted there may be isolated incidents where the illegal settlers were being ill-treated.

“As government, we undertake to ensure the situation is corrected. The minister responsible for Lands is seized with the issue and he will come up with a ministerial statement to clear the sensitivities being reported by the MP.

“The minister of Lands (Anxious Masuka) will ensure all issues are observed, ensuring that lawlessness does not continue.”