via Zanu PF bigwigs to lose land – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 25, 2015
Several farmers in Midlands province including Zanu PF bigwigs must be forced to surrender sizeable portions of their farms owing to increasing demand for land from locals in the region, an audit has recommended.
BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
This was after a land audit committee established that more than 70 farms in the province far exceeded the maximum recommended size of 500 hectares (ha) in the face of a growing number of people on the land waiting list.
The province has 12 000 people on the land waiting list.
The list of people exceeding the recommended size, was dominated by top Zanu PF officials and war veterans.
According to the report, Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya, and ex-Presidential Affairs minister Senator Flora Buka, all Zanu PF members, own farms measuring 1 500ha (Mvuma), 684,428ha (Kwekwe), and 610ha (Kwekwe) respectively.
Zanu PF central committee member Ben Mataga also owns a massive 1 728,3ha in Zvishavane, exceeding the recommended size by 1 228,3ha.
Former Zvishavane-Ngezi constituency legislator Obert Matshalaga has to his name 953,37ha just outside Gweru, while Leonard Chikomba, legislator for Gokwe-Kabuyuni constituency, owns 1 001ha in Kwekwe.
The land reform and resettlement programme, introduced by the Zanu PF-led government more than a decade ago, was meant to empower the black majority, but top chiefs in the party grabbed large pieces of land, while others were multiple farm owners.
The report stated that farms exceeding the maximum size should cede excess hectarage for reallocation to other people in need of land.
Total provincial excess land in the Midlands was stated in the report to be 28 855ha.
“It has to be noted that the maximum farm size issue in this report does not take account of the physical characteristics of the environment. This is because of the demand of land which has risen,” part of the report read.
Gweru has 25 farmers with farms exceeding the recommended maximum size of 500ha measuring an aggregate of 16 676,4346ha, while Kwekwe has 18 farms with a total measurement of 17 518,2088ha.
A Lands Ministry official in the Midlands said the department was carrying out farm assessments before reallocating the excess land to people in need.
“We are carrying out a farm-to-farm assessment throughout the province, then after that, we are to rationalise and make sure the excess land is redistributed to those on our ever-growing waiting list,” the official told NewsDay.