Il­le­gal set­tlers put chief, DA on warpath

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili

MATOBO Dis­trict Ad­min­is­tra­tor Mr Robert Mzezewa has clashed with a lo­cal chief af­ter his of­fice reg­u­larised the stay of il­le­gal set­tlers in Luma, a dis­puted border area be­tween Gwanda and Matobo Dis­tricts. Villagers in Luma, Matobo Dis­trict and their Emapha­neni neigh­bours in Gwanda Dis­trict have for some time now, been fight­ing over the con­trol of pas­tures in Luma. Mr Mzezewa said the Luma con­flict has been re­solved as the il­le­gal set­tlers were given the nod to live in the area last month. “The Matobo Dis­trict Lands Com­mit­tee met and re­solved that the il­le­gal set­tlers stay be reg­u­larised and there­fore are now part of the Luma Farm A1 farm­ers. This came af­ter it was re­alised that only about five per­cent of graz­ing land had been af­fected,” he said. He said af­ter the set­tle­ment was le­galised, the Matobo com­mu­nity was ed­u­cated on the need to share graz­ing land. Mr Mzezewa said the set­tlers were al­ready pay­ing taxes to Gov­ern­ment and have built per­ma­nent struc­tures.

How­ever, Chief Nyanga­zonke said the DA was not be­ing sin­cere in say­ing the bound­ary con­flict had been re­solved. He said fail­ure by Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments to at­tend meet­ings was mak­ing the tra­di­tional lead­er­ship sus­pi­cious about their in­ten­tions over land is­sues.

Chief Nyanga­zonke said civil ser­vants should not come up with so­lu­tions that will cre­ate per­ma­nent con­flicts for villagers. He said lo­cals sus­pect that the il­le­gal set­tlers were cor­ruptly set­tled in the area.

“These con­flicts are emerg­ing be­cause of these new house­holds they want to ap­prove. Maybe some of them re­ceived money. If you look at the is­sue deep down, there is an is­sue of some­one who’s mak­ing peo­ple pay for the stands. How do you le­galise an il­le­gal thing? Why do you want to le­galise a crime?” asked Chief Nyanga­zonke.

He said if the DA does not ad­dress peo­ple’s con­cerns they will ap­proach the Min­is­ter of Lands and Ru­ral Set­tle­ment Dr Dou­glas Mombeshora. In Septem­ber, Dr Mombeshora warned that the Gov­ern­ment will soon start re­mov­ing all il­le­gal set­tle­ments.— @ nqot­shili..

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