MUTARE The government is on Monday expected to make a decision on Chimanimani evictions carried out by Allied Timbers in their plantations on Wednesday night where an estimated 2 000 illegal settlers were moved out.
Allied Timbers allege they have lost in excess of $200 million since 2008 to the invaders who have been indiscriminately cutting down trees which take up to 25 years to nurture.
Most of the settlers are allegedly linked to influential Zanu PF officials desperate for votes in the upcoming general elections.
Senior war veterans, traditional leaders, police and other government authorities in Manicaland province have been sucked into the illegal land invasion that is threatening the companys sustainability.
The Zanu PF provincial leadership in Manicaland was non-committal when asked about the sensitive issue of evictions.
I received the message last night from the governor (Christopher Mushohwe).
I then instructed Chimanimani district administrator Wilson Bore to investigate the matter and the government position will be released on Monday, said Cosmas Chiringa, the acting provincial administrator.
The evictions started on Wednesday night at Chisengu Estate and are being led by the company employees after police reportedly expressed reluctance to execute courts orders.
In an interview with NewsDay during the evictions, the companys group CEO Joseph Kanyekanye said the country was facing serious timber shortages as a result of the invasions.
There are political expediencies being over-emphasised over economic expediency, he said.
The company is losing out millions of dollars yet some politicians including traditional leaders claim they have been allocated land in our estates.
At Tarka Estate, we found out that Chief Ngorima is contracting some contract millers based in Harare.
These settlers cause fires in the estate as a way of making their inroads of occupying the forest.
They will come after the fire with the blessings of politicians and headmen to put up structures, he added.
During the operation at Chisengu on Wednesday night, Allied Timbers managed to evict about 100 illegal settlers and impounded property worth $60 000 from small-scale millers.