ZANU PF supporters, who occupied the Bulawayo City Council-owned Mazwi Game Reserve on the outskirts of the city last week, have parcelled out stands among themselves and vowed to stay put.
The invasion has, however, not gone down well with neighbouring villagers who accused the Zanu PF supporters of grabbing land earmarked for their resettlement.
Zanu PF supporters claim to have occupied the land with the support of the ruling party’s provincial leadership.
However, Zanu PF provincial administrator Eliphas Mashaba told Southern Eye last week that his party had no connection with the land invaders.
Southern Eye visited the occupied game reserve yesterday and the land invaders said they were ready to fight off any police or municipal efforts to evict them.
“We are not going anywhere and whoever was given orders to evict us should be prepared for a fight.
“We did not invade this land, but we occupied vacant land. This land now belongs to us,” said one of the Zanu PF supporters who refused to be named.
A Ncube, who was guarding the entrance to the game reserve said more people would be given land.
“We don’t care what the council says,” he said. “We will not listen to them. We have partitioned land among ourselves and more people will be given pieces of land at the game reserve beginning tomorrow.”
The Zanu PF supporters said any Bulawayo resident who required land should approach them and would be allocated a portion accordingly. However, this has not gone down well with residents of St Peter’s and Robert Sinyoka who stay near the occupied game
“We are not happy with this. If ever there is going to be any legal land distribution of the game reserve, we (the residents) should be beneficiaries,” said Michael Dlamini of St Peter’s.
“In 2012, squatters were allocated pieces of land here by the council yet a number of residents here were crying out for land. This should not be allowed to happen again.”
Last year, 35 Zanu PF supporters invaded the council-owned game reserve in Mazwi and allocated the land to each other.
In 2010, jailed controversial Zanu PF member Lillian Kandemiri led the invasion of an Emganwini council farm and parcelled it out to more than 300 people for a fee.
Police were on both instances called to evict the Zanu PF supporters after eviction orders were issued.