By Nyasha N Mukapiko
Recently crowned Norton legislator Hon Temba Mliswa who beat rival Zanu-PF candidate Ronald Chindedza last week on Tuesday revealed that proceeds from his 800 hectares Spring farm located in Karoi had helped him cling to victory in the last month by-election.
Mliswa was contributing to the Land Commission Bill, tabled by the Lands Minister Douglas Mombeshora which went through second reading. The bill will see the creation of an independent Land Commission that will have an oversight role in land distribution, solving land disputes among other roles.
“I want to thank the Government which gave me the land not Zanu-PF. Madam Speaker; I want to repeat that I want to thank the Government, not Zanu-PF – which gave me land because my offer letter does not have a letterhead of Zanu-PF, but a Government letterhead. It is a noble idea, even when I campaigned in Norton; I campaigned with the beans from my farm” Mliswa told other parliamentarians.
Mliswa also responded to claims that the minister of lands was going to downsize big farms and give them to other farmers in order to increase land tillage and yields per-unit area.
“There is an issue concerning big farms, I am one of those who have a big farm. This issue of saying that the Minister wants to go and reduce the farm sizes have you given them enough inputs? This is because if you do your audits, you find that the Government is not providing enough inputs” said the charged Mliswa.
The former Zanu-PF Mashonaland West province Chairperson said though government had plans to downsize farms there was need to spare successful farmer. Mliswa said his farm had become too small for 1 000 cattle as each cow requires four hectares of grazing land putting forward a proposal to be allocated 400 hectares of additional land.
A report by Committees on Lands, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and that of Peace and Security tabled before Parliament observed that the bulk of Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) membership are failing to access finances and opportunities under public-private investment as the land currently under their occupation were still classified as “disputed land”.
Section 72 (3) of the Constitution stipulates that previous white farmers should be compensated for the improvements that were effected on the farms before acquisition.
Musikavanhu MDC-T legislator Prosper Mutseyami implored government to appoint commissioners with knowledge of land distribution and representing all the country’s ten provinces.
Mutseyami bemoaned government’s action of removing black farmers in the Chipinge-Chisumbanje area, replaced by a white farmer Billy Rautenbach who has a joint-venture with government in ethanol production.