Source: Chiefs must not be in Land Commission: Parly committee – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 5, 2017
PARLIAMENTARY Legal Committee (PLC) chairperson Jonathan Samukange yesterday told Senate that his committee had produced an adverse report on the Land Commission Bill due to some unconstitutional clauses that would have given chiefs powers to preside over agricultural land disputes arising in areas under their jurisdiction.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Last week, senators had proposed amendments to Clause 3 of the Bill, which would have allowed for the National Council of Chiefs to nominate two traditional leaders to sit on the commission.
The PLC said the suggestions were ultra vires (against) the Constitution, as the Land Commission to be set up must not interact with traditional leaders.
“The Constitution clearly iterates the jurisdiction of traditional leaders, in particular Section 282(1)(d), which states that traditional leaders have authority, jurisdiction and control over communal land or other areas for which they have been appointed, and Section 72, whose definition of agricultural land does not include communal land,” Samukange said.
“Having considered the above provisions of the Constitution, the PLC was of the opinion that the amendments proposed to the Land Commission Bill were ultra vires the Constitution because the roles of the Land Commission are patently clear as are the roles of traditional leaders and the two are not expected to interact.”
Samukange said the Land Commission has jurisdiction over agricultural land while traditional leaders have authority, jurisdiction and control over communal land or other areas for which they have been appointed, noting that the definition of agricultural land in Section 72 of the Constitution excludes communal land.
The issue will be further discussed today in the Senate.
Meanwhile, the Deeds Registries Amendment Bill sailed through Second Reading Stage in the National Assembly, with female MPs calling for the repeal of some clauses that discriminated against women.
Harare West legislator Jessie Majome (MDC-T) said Section 15 and 17 of the Bill were a “shame”, as they promoted gender inequality as they stipulated that a married woman shall be assisted by her husband in executing any document at the Deeds Registry Office.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who also acts as Justice minister, pledged to address the issue and amend the contentious clauses in the omnibus Gender Bill set to be brought to Parliament soon by Women Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya.