Cor­rup­tion, land dis­putes raised at pub­lic hear­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Re­porter

THE Par­lia­men­tary Portfo lio Com­mit­tee on Lands, Agri­cul­ture and Ir­ri­ga­tion De­vel­op­ment was in Bu­l­awayo on Thurs­day for a pub­lic hear­ing on the Land Com­mis­sion Bill, with cor­rup­tion and land dis­putes be­ing the ma­jor is­sues raised by mem­bers of the pub­lic.

Par­tic­i­pants who at­tended the hear­ing at Iminyela Hall told the com­mit­tee that they were con­cerned about is­sues to do with cor­rup­tion, land dis­putes and dou­ble al­lo­ca­tion of land.

The chair­man of the com­mit­tee, Cde Christo­pher Chitindi (MP for Muzara­bani South) said the main is­sues raised in Bu­l­awayo were mat­ters of con­cern that have also been raised pre­vi­ously in all the prov­inces that they have cov­ered.

“In all the prov­inces that we have cov­ered, the ma­jor is­sues that have been raised are cor­rup­tion and land dis­putes. Re­solv­ing these dis­putes is one of the com­mis­sion’s man­dates and this should be done ur­gently.

“Once the com­mis­sion starts work­ing, it will ad­dress the is­sues that are be­ing raised at the hear­ings. We’re ac­tu­ally mov­ing with the com­mis­sion­ers so that they have an idea of the is­sues that are be­ing raised by the peo­ple,” said Cde Chitindi.

He, how­ever, ex­pressed con­cern that peo­ple were mis­tak­ing the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee for the com­mis­sion, as they were pre­sent­ing their dis­putes and for­get­ting to dis­cuss the Bill it­self.

“Most of the is­sues that are be­ing raised are tech­ni­cal is­sues that have noth­ing to do with the Land Com­mis­sion Bill. We’re try­ing to re­di­rect the par­tic­i­pants in our con­ver­sa­tions as we dis­cuss the Bill so that they un­der­stand the process,” he said.

He said he was im­pressed by the at­ten­dance by mem­bers of the pub­lic and said this shows that peo­ple value the is­sue of land own­er­ship.

The com­mit­tee was ex­pected at Matetsi Hall in Hwange yes­ter­day for an­other pub­lic hear­ing on the Bill.

Cab­i­net ap­proved the Land Com­mis­sion Bill at the be­gin­ning of June. If ap­proved, the pro­posed law would weed out mul­ti­ple farm own­er­ship, re­solve land dis­putes and deal with land re­form ben­e­fi­cia­ries leas­ing out farms to white former com­mer­cial farm­ers.

It will op­er­a­tionalise the Zimbabwe Land Com­mis­sion, whose func­tions will be to en­sure ac­count­abil­ity, fair­ness and trans­parency in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of agri­cul­tural land.

—@pame­lashumba1

Cde Christo­pher Chitindi

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