Settlers destroy 30 000 hectares of timber

via Settlers destroy 30 000 hectares of timber 05/04/2014 NewZimbabwe

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.

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8 comments on “Settlers destroy 30 000 hectares of timber
  1. Roving Ambassador says:

    Kasukuwere,just a village gangster. And we think we are going somewhere, to hell with this lot.

  2. Mlimo says:

    Google satellite imagery shows more than 75 percent of Zimbabwe being deforested. Another Somalia is being made in 34 years of misrule. Zimbabwe and its natural beauty is now a zanupf sess pit

  3. Tjingababili says:

    THE TREES SAVED BY WHITES!

    • Parangeta says:

      YES fool!

      Planted, saved and abundant woodlands,
      because of the wise husbandry of WHITE farmers!

      Black, white, yellow or brown, you must admit that the Rhodesian
      farmers were incredibly talented, respected worldwide too!

  4. kutongwa nonjazi says:

    Zanu as a whole are Clueless when it comes to managing the environment. Ndinonyara kuona marombe evarume vakuru. Can not manage anything other than loot, destroy, kill or murder. NEHUTSINYE HUSINA KANA KUTYA MWARI

  5. DW says:

    Another stunning ZANU success story, and he has the temerity to say “we are serious about it”!!

  6. Zeezee says:

    More destruction caused by ZPF!

  7. Tongoona says:

    Ksukuwere’s government can assist Kanyekanye by removing the illegal settlers after all they have no offer letters. Where do they go? That is ZANU PF’s baby. ZANU PF knows where these people came from and ZANU PF should bear the costs of relocating them back to where they belong. A little while ago the Manzou settlers were forcefully removed to make room for a game park. If a game park was more important than the people that vote ZANU PF into power, then by the same reason these invaders must be removed on the strength that timber forests are more important because they generate national income as opposed to killing the hen that lays the golden egg. This is the result of chaotic land resettlement.

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