Why land continues to be a problem

By Wisdom Mumera

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa says lack of political will in dealing with land problems has resulted in counter-productive scenarios which have gone on to affect the economy.

Speaking at an event organised by the Zimbabwe Land Commission, the former fitness trainer-cum politician said politicians in Zanu are only pursuing selfish interest instead of driving productive agendas.

“Is there political will? I see that your (ZLC) function is mainly to put across recommendations, and that can be turned down, which means you are not empowered.

“As politicians, we are driven by winning at all costs and will never do anything that damages the support base,” he said.

Mliswa went on to give an example of an audit report carried out in Hurungwe over multiple farm owners which he delivered to the executive but nothing came out of it.

“I carried out an audit of the farms in the area and delivered the report to His Excellency. It detailed who had how many farms, with names of big people and politicians in the party,” added Msliwa.

He said some of the problems are a result of government structures that have been turned into political instruments at the expense of the country’s agriculture sector.

“Currently we have the Provincial Identification Committees which have become political and even factional. Provincial Ministers also now take land away from one politician and give it to another along factional lines.

“We can’t allow the land issue to become a political issue as that is the reason why we don’t have money”, he said.

Mliswa added that empowerment of youths through the distribution of land should be stopped, arguing that more focus should be put on production.

“We need to stop empowering the youths with land only as that means all the 14-year-olds growing up are waiting to turn 16 and claim land also whilst production suffers because they are not equipped enough.

“Let’s regularize and benefit everyone who has land so that we grow production and not politicise inputs as is happening.

“Agritex which is supposed to be leading some of these agricultural programs has been taken out and they have become political programs”, he added.

ZLC Chairperson, however, disputed the accusations that the commission is weak stating that they operated according to the powers vested in them through Parliament.

“Our role is clearly stated in the Constitution and annually we produce a report detailing all the recommendations which are then tabled before Parliament.

“That provides the legislature with the opportunity to interrogate where Executive has ignored our recommendations. Therefore it’s our duty both as ZLC and Parliament to take the Executive to task”, she said.

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