Source: Land audit no gimmick: Mombeshora – Sunday News Jun 19, 2016
MULTIPLE farm owners among them politicians are likely to lose land in the Government’s land audit programme that is set to re-affirm the “use it or lose it” policy after revelations that some people are holding on to land for speculative purposes. It has also emerged that some of the politicians were using their political muscle to acquire farms using names of their children still at school and below the age of majority as well as their spouses.
Lands, Land Reform and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the land audit that the Government had been promising was not just a political hoax.
He said there were not going to have sacred cows when the programme is rolled out and warned those that have more than one farm to surrender excess land to the Government as well as those that have failed to be productive to come out in the open so that the Government repossesses the land and give it to those that were willing to work on it.
“I think you have heard even the Vice-President Cde Mnangagwa (Emmerson) saying that the Government is serious about the land audit. Yes, it is in our plans as the Government to ensure that those that benefited from the Land Reform Programme are fruitful on the land that we gave them.
“The audit will also expose those that have more than one farm as well as how the land has been used. We want all the land that we gave to beneficiaries to be put to good use for the greater benefit of the country. It (the audit) will also rectify the boundary issues that are causing some headaches in some districts and provinces among beneficiaries,” said Dr Mombeshora.
Although he said he had not received complaints of politicians abusing their political power to have multiple farms at the expense of landless citizens, he said the audit would unearth those irregularities if they are there adding that there are not going to have sacred cows as the purpose was to ensure that all land was put to productive use.
“If such complaints of politicians holding on to land and acquiring the more than one farm are brought to my attention by the provinces I will do my investigations and act on the findings,” he said.
Dr Mombeshora said it was the prerogative of the responsible provinces to ensure that its people get land and that no-one no matter how powerful had two or more farms.
“It’s up to the provinces through their lands committees chaired by respective Ministers of State to allocate land equitably. If they encounter any problems they will tell me. I can’t be everywhere so I rely on them. If there are problems they feel they can’t solve, they are brought to my attention.
“So if the provinces are quiet, my assumption is that there are no major problems in the way they are allocating land,” he said. The Government embarked on the Land Reform Programme in the year 2000 after Britain reneged on the promise to compensate Zimbabwe for land.
The main objective of the programme was to correct the historical and colonial land imbalances that were perpetrated and perpetuated by the whites years after Independence.
The majority of land was owned by a few whites while the black majority remained crammed in unproductive soils devoid of agricultural activity.