OVER 3,000 squatters, who have encroached Lukusuzi National Park, will be removed by October 10 this year, Eastern Province minister Malozo Sichone has said.
And Mr Sichone has urged the police to investigate allegations that Chieftainess Mwase Mphangwe’s induna Simon Phiri received K1,000 and gifts from over 120 squatters as an inducement to allow them to settle in Lukusuzi National Park.
This came to light during a meeting between Mr Sichone and the squatters in the Lukusuzi National Park yesterday.
“We are from talking to the chieftainess who told us that she never allowed anyone in the park. So we want you to go back where you came from,” he said.
Mr Sichone told the squatters that the Zambia Wildlife Authority planned to remove them during the rainy season early this year without fail.
He said there is no execuse for people to continue living in Lukusuzi National Park when they were given ample time to vacate the reserve.
Mr Sichone said it is sad someone allegedly received money from the squatters without the blessings of Chietfainess Mwase Mphangwe.
He said police will investigate the matter.
Mr Sichone reminded the squatters that Lukusuzi National Park will never be a human settlement.
He also said Zambia and Malawi have received about €20 million for restocking the national park.
Mr Sichone said it is unfortunate that people have been living in the national park since 2012 when they were fully aware that the reserve is meant for wildlife.
Earlier, Chieftainess Mwase Mphangwe told Mr Sichone and his entourage at her palace that one induna is misleading the people.
She said it is unfortunate that her name was being dragged into the matter when she has not received any money from the squatters because the park belongs to the government.
And during the meeting, Samuel Banda, a representative of the squatters, said the traditional leadership does not support the squatters.
Mr Banda pleaded with Government to allow the squatters to stay in the national park.
But Mr Sichone maintained that national parks countrywide are for wild animals and not for human settlement.