About three hundred Banket families who were allocated land in 1999 at the height of the country’s chaotic Land Reform Programme are set to lose their sources of livelihood after suspected government officials took over their plots.
The affected families, most of them residents of the tiny Mashonaland West town, were using the peri-urban land for subsistence farming.
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Following previous owner Tim Henwood’s eviction from Wigtown farm at the turn of the Millenium, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters were allocated plots averaging six hectares each for farming but were told not to build any structures.
Now, the plots have been invaded by civil servants, with some linked to the President’s department and the new occupants are already ploughing in readiness for the summer season.
One of the disenfranchised farmers, Charles Maremo of Plot 247, said the government must urgently intervene to resolve the matter. He said:
This is unacceptable, the government must come and address this because we suspect whoever was given the land and the giver acted corruptly.
Ward 23 councillor, Richard Muganhiri, said the plots were demarcated following an agreement between Banket Town Board and the Lands ministry.
He said the land remains council’s property and is reserved for town expansion.