CHIREDZI – The Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Prisca Mupfumira has lambasted top Zanu PF politicians for supporting illegal settlements in wildlife reserve areas, saying their actions were detrimental to the building of investor confidence.
Speaking during a tourism indaba at Triangle Country Club recently, Mupfumira said she was on a move to restore sanity in wildlife areas as part of efforts to prevent human wildlife conflict and promote tourism.
Mupfumira warned top government officials and politicians whom she said were defending illegally-settled people thereby discouraging investment in the tourism sector.
Hundreds of people are settled in the Save Valley Conservancy and they have vehemently resisted eviction amid claims that they enjoy support from top Zanu PF politicians who are using them for political expediency.
Mupfumira said the tourism sector was losing money from such possible funding partners as KFWF and EU due to the disorder in the sector.
"Some people invaded wildlife areas, places that must never be invaded. We want to make sure that both animals and humans are safe by erecting strong fencing in identified areas. We are being seen as a disorderly people and that is an obstacle to investment," said Mupfumira.
She said citizens of the country were very much known for their failure to respect the law and were regarded as disorganised people.
"Top government officials who are resettling people in restricted areas should stop that behavior so that we can have positive reviews from important stakeholders. No one is above the law and we will soon alert the President that we are not being funded by EU and KFWF due to the actions of people who think they are above the law.
“They just invade farms and wildlife areas where they are not allowed and resettle people arbitrarily. There are many people who invaded forests, parks and plantations," said Mupfumira.
Many people were also resettled illegally in Chiredzi North, leading to land degradation and incidences of human-wildlife conflicts.