via I’ll deal with ministers: Mugabe – DailyNews Live 3 July 2014 Helen Kadirire
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe yesterday issued a stern warning to Cabinet ministers who are in the habit of protecting the few remaining white farmers, saying he is going to descend heavily on them.
As he launched the new A1 settlement permit model at Chipfundi Resettlement Farm in Lions’ Den Mashonaland West, the 90-year-old strongman swore that no white farmer would be allowed to own land.
Mugabe said the remaining whites still on farms should make way for blacks who have not been resettled.
The nonagenarian said he knew there were some ministers who were harbouring white farmers. Chiefs engaged in the same activities would be called to order through their leader Chief Fortune Charumbira.
“There is a concern that this area (Makonde) still has many whites on farms,” he said.
“Temba Mliswa confirmed that they are still around when I met with him last night and he gave me 35 names of people though some may still be unknown. Pane maminister angu arikunzi arikuramba kubvisa varungu paminda, kwete, tinenge tichavadirei? ( There are some ministers who are refusing to evict white farmers from the land, what use are they to us now?)”
“Vanhu ava havasi vekuitira moyo chena, especially panyaya yevhu. Kana paine varikuita lease out land for money kana kuvahwandisa, we will look in the districts to find out ndiyani. (We should not be lax when dealing with whites especially when it comes to our land. If there are some who are leasing out land to others, we will be going around the districts to fish you out),” he said.
“They can own industries and companies or stay in apartments in our towns but cannot own land. We hear in some cases they are being protected by cabinet ministers and politicians within their constituencies. We will deal with that.”
Douglas Mombeshora, minister of Land, Land Reform and Resettlement, said 221 472 farmers had been resettled on A1 farms across the country.
He said banks should now consider extending loans to the resettled farmers as they now had assurance.
“We are looking into talking with banks to consider you,” Mombeshora said. “Those on large tracks of under-utilised land should volunteer to subdivide their land so that those on the waiting list can access land also.”
In the first phase of land reform between 1980-1998, government resettled 71 000 families on 3,5 million hectares of land while phase two saw 4 697 families benefitting from 168 263 hectares.
Paul Zakaria, Zimbabwe Farmers Union director, said banks should now start taking the resettled farmers seriously as they were now land owners.
He said the farmers should also take their land as business ventures where they can make a profit.
“In some countries like Brazil, such permits as the ones being presented here can be bankable and used to get loans. The same thing should eventually happen for these farmers,” he said.
The new land ownership model is expected to bring clarity on land ownership in Zimbabwe as the land redistribution programme reaches a crescendo and probably closure after years of unending disputes and confusion. So-called new farmers did not have access to loans because of a lack of security, especially title deeds.
But with the issue of the new permits, more than 220 000 offer letters issued in the past decade are set to be nullified as government seeks to bring order to the vital sector.
Over the years, Zanu PF officials, notably Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Mliswa have waged unending battles with some farmers whom they allege have the protection of powerful government ministers.
A cocktail of changes contained in the new model, sub-letting, abandoning land and allowing agricultural land to decline would result in the cancellation of the permit after a 90 day warning.