By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
29 July, 2014
Supporters of ZANU PF who were encouraged to invade timber estates in Chimanimani by local party candidates ahead of last year’s elections, are being ordered to pack up and vacate their farms as government issues new offer letters to settlers.
According to Chimanimani activist Peter Chanetsa, the affected settlers invaded properties owned by Border Timbers and other companies in Chimanimani, where they cut down timber to build their homes and establish farming communities.
Chanetsa said ZANU PF candidates told supporters that no-one would evict them if the party won the elections. But one year after Robert Mugabe declared a disputed landslide victory over the MDC-T, the settlers are being denied new offer letters introduced by government this year.
“It was an election gimmick to get votes. Some of these people had built proper houses with bricks and tin roofs. It was electioneering and now they have been told they have to leave because they settled illegally,” Chanetsa explained, adding that there is much anger towards ZANU PF.
The activist named areas such as Chitaka Estate owned by Border Timbers, Nyaruwa, Westward Hall and Ward 10 Chikukwa among the most affected. He said the ZANU PF officials, including MP Samuel Undenge, Mai Knight and Joshua Sacco, are now nowhere to be seen.
Chanetsa said government has informed the settlers that a deadline will soon be announced and they expect everyone without an offer letter to leave. Many plan to harvest their crops and return back to their original rural homes to live. Others with nowhere to go say they will wait and see what happens with the deadline.