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15 000+ squatters grab farmland in Midlands province

THE Midlands province has more than 15 000 illegally resettled people who occupied farms without the approval of the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, a provincial lands official has said.

Provincial lands officer, Kudzai Katiyo, said the families were supposed to vacate the farms with some of them having been served with eviction notices since last year.

“We have more than 15 000 illegally resettled people in the province,” Katiyo said at a Zanu PF Provincial Coordinating Committee meeting on development in Gweru on Saturday.

“Some of the families were allocated the land by chiefs some years back and we have to address this issue.”

Two years ago, government gave a three week ultimatum to over 10 000 families in Gweru, Shurugwi and Chirumhanzu districts, who were allegedly illegally settled by Chiefs Nhema, Gambiza and Chirumhanzu respectively.

Since then the province has been facing problems of the illegal settlers as they resisted evictions with the Zanu PF led government adopting a slow approach on the issue for fear of angering their supporters.

There are reportedly 10 000 illegal settlers in Shurugwi, 2 700 in Mberengwa, Gokwe North 2 000, Gokwe South 1 000, Gweru 900 and over 300 in Kwekwe and Zvishavane.

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