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Binga evictions pay off for council

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

A move by a Binga chief and a local councillor to evict illegal settlers from the Mucheni Community Conservancy has started paying dividends as council is now generating income from hunting activities.

Chief Sinasengwe and councillor for Ward 4, Elmon Mudenda, were instrumental in the eviction of the settlers two years ago after realisation that the occupation of the concession was having a negative impact on Binga Rural District Council’s revenue inflows.

Council lost millions of dollars in potential revenue as hunters started shunning the conservancy, but indications are that money is now trickling in.

The conservancy declared a dividend of $9 800 from the concession last year.

Chief Sinansengwe and Mudenda were roped in after council’s legal route turned out to be fruitless.

“Council had not managed to remove the settlers from the five conservancies they were occupying for the past 10 years and in our conservancy area in Sinansengwe, I had to team up with
my chief and we managed to evict the settlers,” Mudenda said.

“So far we have been working very well with our safari operator who is operating in our conservancy.”

“Last year we received our dividend of ZWL$ 9 800.”

“We are operating very well.

“It’s been over two years now and things are moving fine.”

The conservancy was among many in the district that were invaded by illegal settlers in the last 10 years.

According to officials, illegal settlers in six wards, namely Sinakoma, Sinansengwe, Sinampande, Siabuwa, Chunga and Kabuba, are hampering hunting activities.

In 2014 councillors passed a resolution to evict all the illegal settlers after hunters threatened to pull out.

Council obtained a court order to evict the settlers, but they appealed to the High Court and the case has since been struck off the roll.

The local authority mainly gets its revenue from taxes paid by hunting companies.

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