The police have been accused of failing to act on the war veterans and Zanu (PF) supporters who invaded the timber plantations owned by Allied Timbers Zimbabwe, a company owned by a parastatal, Forestry Commission.
They have stayed put despite a court ruling ordering them out of the more than 500 hecatares of plantations they occupy.
Allied Timbers Zimbabwe’s chief executive officer, Joseph Kanyekanye, said: “We are concerned that illegal settlements at Gwendingwe and here at Martin can cause serious damage as history shows us that if the illegal settlements remain, we lose planted and unplanted forests.”
Kanyekanye was addressing a gathering to mark the Fire Awareness Campaign at Martin Forest Estate in Chimanimani.
“Efforts to clear illegal settlers were done via the courts but the police in Chimanimani are not keen to remove these people even when
this amounts to contempt of court,” Kanyekanye said. “Political reasons are cited. Why do we have illegal settlers building houses in plantations in Chimanimani and not being dealt with when they are court orders against this?
Why are we allowing them to do this when our forests are being hurt? Why? Why? Who must remove them? If not you, who? ZRP Chimanimani and the Provincial Administrator should give us answers why we are allowing such a massive destruction to State land and forests,” he said.