KWEWKE: Over 300 families believed to have been evicted from the Mapfungautsi area in Gokwe have invaded Sebakwe resettlement area creating room for a potential shutdown against the resettled farmers who have been occupying the area since the land reform programme.
Sebakwe resettled farmers who spoke to CommuTalk say they have not known peace since the invasions as the illegal settlers have taken their prized possessions to the new area in search of homes.
“Our biggest worry is that we had managed to invest in infrastructure on our new farms. Since these people began to come here, we are now facing a number of challenges.
“Their cattle are eating our crops and they are also causing a lot of land degradation. They are aimlessly cutting down trees and we are appealing that they be evicted from this area,” one farmer, Edward Chikerema said.
“This situation is getting out of hand. It seems the first families to settle here have gone on a recruitment drive to have their relatives follow them after assuring them that they have found nice resettlement area here.
“We have tried all tricks in the book top get rid of them but they are adamant that they will stay put. We need a solution to this so that we continue with productivity,” added another farmer, Adrien Chideme.
Kwekwe District lands officer Christine Batisavi confirmed the development and said the illegal settlers are indeed a headache in the Sebakwe resettlement.
“We have been trying to get rid of these illegal settlers. We came with the police in the last two months but they are very defiant as they are saying they have nowhere to go. It’s quite a mess.
“We are happy that we have been assured by the minister that we are going to have some reinforcements and hopefully we are going to get rid of them this time around,” said Batisayi.
Background says the now homeless settlers were awarded land on areas that had been already occupied by political leaders who used them to boost the rural vote during the 2018 election and soon after elections were over, they got chased from the area by landowners who reclaimed their space and resultantly many families became destitute.