Investor protests to Gov’t over leased forest

RUBAVU - Pfunda Tea Factory SARL has contested a government’s decision to resettle over 300 residents from Gishwati Forest to Kanembwe forest which was leased to the factory by the government. Last weekend, the factory’s General Manager, A. Shaw, while meeting the Governor of the Western Province, Celestin Kabahizi, said he was unhappy with the move.
Governor Celestin Kabahizi talking to Shaw about the issue of resettling over 300 residents from Gishwati forest to Kanembwe forest. (Photo/ R. Mugabe)
Governor Celestin Kabahizi talking to Shaw about the issue of resettling over 300 residents from Gishwati forest to Kanembwe forest. (Photo/ R. Mugabe)

RUBAVU - Pfunda Tea Factory SARL has contested a government’s decision to resettle over 300 residents from Gishwati Forest to Kanembwe forest which was leased to the factory by the government.

Last weekend, the factory’s General Manager, A. Shaw, while meeting the Governor of the Western Province, Celestin Kabahizi, said he was unhappy with the move.

“I’m really disappointed by how I’m being treated. The forest belongs to Pfunda Tea Company, and now the government is taking it back without telling us what is going on,” Shaw said.

“I am worried about my investments, honestly, that’s not how things must be done since we paid the amount the government requested.”

Speaking to The New Times, however, the Forestry Minister, Christopher Bazivamo, maintained that the government would give the factory Magaba Forest as an alternative. Magaba Forest is 18km away from the factory.

“We are considering giving out Magaba forest to this investor and see how we can give them some money back,” Bazivamo said. “We shall use Kanembwe for resettlement; it is our responsibility to ensure that both the investor and citizens are safe.”

In 2004, the forest was leased for 10 year to the factory at a cost of $ 311,000.

Kanembwe Forest, in Rubavu district has 212 hectors of mature trees.

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