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Gutu illegal settlers sentenced to 4 months

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Gutu illegal settlers sentenced to 4 months



MASVINGO – Gutu Magistrate, Molly Gwatida has sentenced 23 villagers from Mpandawana Village under Chief Gutu to four months in jail for illegally settling on State land.
Gwatida wholly suspended the sentence on condition that the 23 pay a fine of US$100, don’t commit a similar offence in the next five years and they vacate the occupied land by May 10, 2024. Some of the occupants had stayed on the land for 26 years from 1998.
The bail should be paid by March 6, 2024.
Some of the accused argued that the land they are being evicted from is their ancestral land.
The court heard that on a date unknown by the prosecutor but from a period extending from 1998 to date Fungayi Mlotshwa (40), Bornface Mashakana (35), Mushina Mashakana (30), Owen Mucheiwa (42), Muchina Mashakana, Grace Ziyambi (64), Hertwick Matutu, Memory Makiwa, Kudakwashe Nzvenga (28), Oripa Muradza (46), Melody Tavarera (33), Grace Mtizira (25), Charity Mutero (33), Brian Nyamande (32), Llyod Mupereki (27), Stan Mupanga ( 57), Philmon Ndonga, Maria Masunda (32), Dudu Ngonidzashe, Dziti Berna (52), Grace Ziyambi (64), Tendai Doba (41) and Clifford Mashamba (30) illegally occupied pieces of land in Mpandawana Village without offer letters or legal occupation documents.
The land was given to Gutu Rural District by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development for developmental purposes.The accused produced letters of occupation from traditional leaders but the State said traditional leaders don’t have powers to distribute state land.
Rachel Murape stood for the state.

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