Government fires warning shots to land invaders


HARARE-The Government has warned land invaders to desist from their illegal activities as they will face the full wrath of the law.

Land and Agriculture Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka said this in a public statement to the media recently.

He said the current spate of illegal settlements are detrimental to food security in the country, adding that his Ministry is the only authorized to issue tenure documents on agricultural land.

Dr Masuka added that land Invaders are breaching the  laws of the country and the government will not tolerate such lawlessness.

“It is a criminal offence in terms of the Gazzetted Lands (Consequential Provisions) Act to occupy state land without lawful authority in the form of a permit, an offer letter or a lease.

Those found occupying state land without authority will be prosecuted. The full wrath of the law will be applied in such cases of illegal settlements,” he said.

He said the government will not regularize illegal settlements.

“Government will not regularise those that settle themselves on state land without procedurally issued tenure documents,” said the 2022 Best Performing Minister.

The Minister pointed out that the Land applications should be  made at the Provincial lands offices where applicants should be put on the waiting list and given numbers to track progress of their applications.

“Land applicants who are recommended for land allocation should wait to get tenure documents before occupying recommended pieces of land,”  he said.

Masuka advised the nation that agricultural land is not for sale, adding that the provincial affairs and devolution Ministers in their capacity as chairpersons of provincial land committees should activate the necessary structures to deter and evict any illegal settlers.

The stern warning comes at a time when 17 suspected land grabbers were last week arrested for illegally settling at Longlands farm in Beatrice area in Mashonaland East province.

The warning comes at the backdrop of reports that  some lands officers and ministry officials are corruptly parceling land without following the due process.

Resultantly, the illegal parceling out of land has caused land disputes due to double allocation.

In December last year, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture, Professor Obert Jiri fired  a salvo at government officials who are illegally downsizing or allocating land to their cronies.

He said “Most disputes of land boundaries are caused by double allocation through fake papers generated by lands officers to cause disorder”.

Prof Jiri added that huis Ministry officials have the responsibility to make sure that the land reform is a success and that order is restored.

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