Corruption, land disputes raised at public hearing
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.
Cde Christopher Chitindi