The Herald (Zimbabwe)
Corruption, double allocations spoil land reform: Zanu-PF
ZANU-PF says the land reform is one of the most progressive initiatives undertaken by Government in the past two decades but its success is being spoiled by alleged acts of corruption in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, and the absence of leases to securitise ownership.
The party also expressed concern over land barons illegally selling land to desperate home seekers in urban areas.
In its Central Committee Report for the 17th Annual National People’s Conference, Zanu-PF’s Lands, Land Reform and Agriculture Department said: “The land reform has been probably one of the progressive policies that the revolutionary party has implemented for the betterment and empowerment of the people of Zimbabwe at large.
“The party needs to institute mechanisms to solve the numerous problems emanating from the way the land reform programme was conducted especially taking cognisance the corrupt and vindictive practices by officers in the Ministry of Lands and some former ministers in that Ministry of Lands (from head down to the district). Bona fide farmers should be assisted in order to enable them to do their work in a tranquil environment,” the report said.
The department said officials involved in corrupt activities must be arrested.
“Those that cause the chaotic situation that is prevailing through greediness and blatant corruption need to be brought to book, prosecuted and imprisoned for their criminal activities that threaten to derail the noble programme,” it said.
The department said it had received over 200 complaints on double allocations of land and corrupt activities by officials in the Ministry of Lands.
“The problems include corrupt practices in the way land is being distributed by officers in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, evictions of bona fide land owners by dubious individuals, groups or companies claiming to be the bona fide (owners) of the said pieces of land,” it said.
“The other complaints include victimisation of liberation war veterans on the farms that they occupied and acquired during the agrarian reform period, leading to their evictions through High Court orders and the office of the Sheriff of the High Court. All war veterans with land should therefore be given leases on a fast-track basis in order for them to be protected and enable them access to loan facilities,” said the department.
The department said there were serious conflicts on the land due to double allocations.
In this regard, the department said: “The Land Commission should solve all land tenure conflicts without prejudice or favour and should be seen to be doing the work for which it was constituted.
“As of now, very little tangible is being done to solve the numerous problems that are hindering production in the agricultural sector,” it said.
“The scourge of the so-called land barons in urban settings which include cities, towns, mining establishments and growth points has to be solved emphatically and all those that stole and sold State land should be ruthlessly dealt with and prosecuted,” added the department.