HomeNewsChiefs, war vets are thieves, corrupt - Kanyekanye

Chiefs, war vets are thieves, corrupt – Kanyekanye


Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Joseph Kanyekanye, who is also Allied Timbers CEO, has lashed out at senior politicians, war veterans and traditional chiefs in Chimanimani accusing them of stealing and corruption.

This followed the invasion and plunder of Allied Timbers plantations in Chimanimani by nearly 3 000 war veterans, traditional chiefs and Zanu PF activists resulting in the company losing millions of dollars worth of timber over the past four years.

Kanyekanye, who accused politicians and traditional leaders of failing the country by disregarding ministerial orders to stop operations and vacate the forests, was speaking after a tour of the plantations last week.

There are now close to 3 000 settlers at the plantations who are either illegally harvesting the timber or causing uncontrolled fires, shifting cultivation.

“We need to protect our forests so that Zimbabwe doesn’t import timber. All our forests here are government property covered under the Forest Act,” Kanyekanye said.

“This is corruption of the highest order. This is stealing away from the coming generation. From a logical point of view, what these politicians, war veterans and chiefs are doing is corruption because they are not doing this out of shortage of land, but greed. They are literally coming here to steal.”

Traditional chiefs who have allocated land in the plantations include Chief Ngorima and Chief Chikukwa.

Since 2008, war veterans and political activists with the approval of the Chimanimani District Administrator’s Office and backing from the Zanu PF provincial leadership, have occupied the pine and gumtree plantations where they have set up small-scale millers to harvest the forest.

Law enforcement agents have reportedly refused to partner with Allied Timbers to remove them.

The Chimanimani district lands committee has remained silent over the dispute while on the other hand settlers are allegedly threatening the CZI president with unspecified action.

“This is our land. The company should know that and we have the support of traditional chiefs and senior government officials.

“We occupied this land and all we want is to co-exist and not threaten each other,” said Mutunzi Paul, who led 118 families in the takeover of Chisengu Estate.

Kanyekanye also attacked police in Chimanimani describing them as “unprofessional”.

He said if police refused to heed their calls for help, Allied Timbers would “go it alone”.

Last month Allied Timbers evicted hundreds of families from various estates.

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