Business & Economy

More than 300 people arrested in Zimbabwe for alleged illegal occupation of land

Harare, Feb 9 (EFE).- Zimbabwean police arrested 312 people on Thursday for allegedly illegally occupying communal land, the defending lawyer and the police told EFE on Friday.

After securing bail for the accused in the Chipinge Magistrate’s Court in Manicaland province in eastern Zimbabwe, attorney Lovemore Madhuku reassured EFE that “they have not broken any law,” emphasizing that “these lands rightfully belong to them.”

The 312 defendants, who claim the land is customary and belonged to their ancestors are expected to return to court next Tuesday.

Authorities from Chipinge Rural District claim ownership of the approximately 1,000-hectare land parcel and intend to convert it into a residential area.

The Zimbabwean police confirmed the arrest to EFE, but did not give further details.

Land ownership issues are common in Zimbabwe, where the government of then-President Robert Mugabe (1987 to 2017) in 2000 expropriated about 4,000 white farmers from the land they had since the colonial period.

Indigenous communities then began to informally occupy the “vacant fields.”

Deputy Minister of Lands and Agriculture, Dr. Anxious Masuka, emphasized that individuals settling on state land without legally issued title deeds will not be granted regularization by the government. He further asserted that such individuals will face the full force of the law. EFE


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