Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government has reviewed the policy on allocation of vacant land and restructured the Provincial and District Lands committee to curb rampant corruption, legislators have heard.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka said the revised guidelines on allocation of land will target multiple farm owners, abandoned farms, derelict land, underutilised farms and productive farms that are above farm size.
Minister Masuka said this in the National Assembly while responding to questions from Mwenezi West MP Cde Priscilla Moyo (Zanu-PF) who had asked about Government’s policy regarding vacant land and what was being done to curb corruption in land allocations.
“Government has also now issued revised guidelines to provincial and district land committees to ensure that the first four categories be the priority categories for identification of vacant land and for the allocation of land,” said Minister Moyo.
“So regarding the specific measures to fight corruption, we have undertaken the unsavoury reshuffling of officers at provincial level. During the past two weeks we have redeployed all the provincial land officers. However, reports continue of corrupt district land officers. We must highlight at this stage that reshuffling them does not solve the problem but delays the manifestation of the problem at the next post and in time, I think that we need to look at dealing with the issue as it occurs where there is enough evidence.”
Minister Masuku implored citizens to report corruption to appropriate authorities.
He said his ministry had reconstituted the lands committee by enlarging its composition as part of measures to curb the corruption scourge.
The composition of the enlarged committee is as follows: the District Lands Officer, District Development Coordinator Chairperson, The Rural District Council chairperson, Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, District Head, District Lands Officer as Secretary and Advisor, District Agricultural Extension Officers, District Development Fund, District Coordinator, EMA District Head, Woman Affairs District Head, All Traditional Chiefs in the District, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Prisons Services, and President’s Department.
In a related matter, some Zanu-PF legislators and Norton MP, Mr Temba Mliswa rapped MDC-Alliance MPs for spurning the land reform programme, only to make an about turn now.
This was after Magwegwe MP, Mr Anele Ndebele inquired on what Government was going to do to allocate land to members of the opposition and their supporters whom he said were disadvantaged during the agrarian reform.
Tsholotsho North MP Cde Sibangumuzi Khumalo shot down the claims by Mr Ndebele.
“Madam Speaker, that is not correct. When it comes to the issue of the land reform in this country, it depends on who wants land and who does not. At that time, those who were not in sync with the Government did not want land. There was nothing Government could have done. It was allocating land to those who wanted it. Mliswa is here, he got land because he wanted it. He can be my witness. It is not that people were being discriminated according to their political parties. It is not true Madam Speaker,” said Cde Khumalo.
Mr Mliswa weighed in: “My advice to my colleagues on the right, just the same way you believed that Honourable (Thokozani) Khupe was not the leader of the MDC, you also refused the land reform. May you learn to accept what God has given you; a leader, land and so forth and never ever politicise. May you also learn your lesson. When Government programmes come, take them and do not politicise.”