Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Drafting of Land Bill now complete

Drafting of Land Bill now complete

Minister Mombeshora

Minister Mombeshora

Lovemore Mataire Senior Reporter
The Lands and Rural Resettlement Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, has finalised the drafting of the Land Commission Bill, which will clear all contentious issues that include the 99-year leases and periodic audits to ascertain productivity.

The finalisation of the draft Bill is part of an inter-ministerial taskforce on the alignment of legislation to the Constitution established by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as an institutional platform to ensure that all legislation is consistent with the Constitution.

In an interview on the sidelines of a three-day workshop organised by the Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR) to finalise the drafting of the Land Commission Bill and Notarial Deed, the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Dr Douglas Mombeshora said the meeting was meant to polish up the draft, which will lead to the establishment of the Land Commission.

“This Bill will spell out specific duties and functions of the Land Commission, look at various issues including the issue of multiple ownership and periodic land audits,” said Dr Mombeshora.

He said the Land Commission will, among other things, ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of agricultural land.

It would also conduct periodic audits, acquire private land for public purposes, and the elimination of all forms of unfair discrimination, particularly gender discrimination.

Dr Mombeshora expressed hope that the bill will iron out issues to do with land usage and the size of agricultural land holdings, and simplify the acquisition and transfer of rights in land including fair compensation payable under any law for agricultural land and improvements that have been compulsorily acquired.

CALR director Mr Nyasha Chishakwe, whose organisation recently received $3 million funding from the European Union to assist Government in the constitutional re-alignment process, said the Land Commission Bill was extremely important in bringing finality to most contentious issues on land.

“We felt it important to host this workshop as part of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on the alignment of laws to the Constitution which was a platform established by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the basis of a Cabinet decision made in 2013,” said Mr Chishakwe .

The workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, the Attorney-General’s Office drafting division, the Law Development Commission and the Constitution and Parliamentary Affairs department in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

Zimbabwe’s land reform has benefited over 300 000 households since 2000, although various irregularities, which include unclear farm demarcations and double allocations, have emerged.

In some cases the discrepancies have seen children as young as 10 years being listed as farm owners. The lands ministry has drawn up a $35 million budget for the first audit, and the United Nations Development Fund and European Union have channeled $7 million towards the task.

Government figures indicate that at least 500 000 landless Zimbabweans await resettlement.


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