Farm and conservancy both under threat by land invaders
By Alex Bell
23 July 2012
Two properties in Zimbabwe are facing a take over threat by land invaders,
as concern continues to rise about the future of property rights in the
Ruware Ranch, in the Chiredzi River Conservancy, was invaded last Friday by
a group of people armed with axes, who started clearing the land that was
allegedly demarcated by the Land Ministry in January. The invasion comes a
month after hundreds of ZANU PF supporters, accompanied by Lands Ministry
officials, invaded the property and insisted it was promised to them 12
The invasion leaves thousands of animals at risk with 26 different species
inhabiting the property. Already wildlife in the Chiredzi River Conservancy
has been targeted by human encroachers on the land, due to the onslaught of
illegal settlers who have been invading other parts of the Conservancy. They
have been attempting to clear the land for crops, resulting in widespread
destruction and hundreds of thousands of animals being killed.
The destruction has also been raised as a key point of concern in
parliament, with warnings about how these ongoing invasions were set to
affect Zimbabwe’s remaining protected areas. A report by a Parliamentary
Committee on Natural Resources earlier this year identified top military and
ZANU PF figures as the individuals behind the invasion of conservancies.
But no attention has been paid to these warnings and land continues to be
The invasion at Ruware also comes as Matabeleland South farmer Dudley Rogers
has been threatened with eviction, allegedly for allowing an MDC rally to
take place near his property.
According to the Daily News newspaper the MDC-T’s Matabeleland
South provincial chairperson, Watchy Sibanda, said two former police
wanted to take over Rodgers’ farm.
“We had our provincial rally about a month ago at an open space adjacent to
Rodgers’ Olympus farm and since then all has not been well there. Two former
police officers, Muhoni and Gono, have already visited the farm several
claiming they are new owners. They also claim to have offer letters from the
ministry of lands but we wonder if those letters are genuine,” said Sibanda.
“We know ZANU PF is behind all this because they have been accusing Rodgers
of sponsoring our party,” said Sibanda.