Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Resettled farmers to lose land

Resettled farmers to lose land

Resettled farmers to lose land 23 October 2014 by Nelson Sibanda

Impoverished A1 farmers are in panic mode following reports that Zanu (PF)’s December congress is planning to sub-divide their land into plots and allocate them to party youths.

A1 farmers in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East Provinces told The Zimbabwean they had been warned that congress would resolve to “sub-divide our small six hectare plots”.

“Though we are not against the intended sharing of land, what we do not understand is why farmers with vast tracts of land like the first family would be spared,” said a Mashonaland Central farmer who could not be identified for security reasons.

The farmer, who is a war veteran and holds a senior position in the party, said a “big fish” was stalling the land audit to spare the larger A2 farms, most of which are occupied by top Zanu (PF) officials, security chiefs and some government officials.

Zanu (PF) youth who converged at a national congress in August demanded that they be allocated idle land as they had not benefited from the land “reform” exercise as they were too young when it started in 2000.

According to the source, the youths indicated that the majority of them were too young to participate in the agrarian programme when it started.

“Government should speed up the land audit so that youths can be allocated idle land … they should institute a system that fast tracks the land audit, while enabling access to underutilised land by youths for agricultural and residential purposes,” reads part of their demands.

When asked about the criteria used to decide to sub-divide A1 plots while sparing large idle A2 farms, Paddy Zhanda, the co-deputy minister for lands said: “The right person to comment is the minister for lands, Douglas Mombeshora.”

Zhanda indicated that the minister was out of the country and would only be accessible next week.

Despite many A2 farms lying idle, they have been spared while defenceless A1 farmers, whose land is already insufficient, have been targeted for re-distribution.

The first family is a multiple farm owner and recently the Grace Mugabe evicted poor families to extend her already sprawling estate in Mazowe.

Grace described the struggling families as gold panners destroying the vegetation and deserving the eviction.

“I applied for the land from the Mashonaland Central leadership and was duly allocated the farm,” said Grace,

who boasted of being given an offer letter by the Ministry of Lands after “applying for ownership of a conservancy owned by some whites.”

Oppah Muchinguri, the outgoing chairperson of the Zanu (PF) Women’s League, told party supporters at Grace’s Mazowe farm that a few party leaders had grabbed land at the expense of youth.

“President (Mugabe) is saying give farms to youths yet some people are busy giving the land to their own children. The thieves that the President has nursed have stolen mines and farms,” said Muchinguri, without mentioning names.

When asked if the country still had land to allocate the youths and those left out of the redistribution, Rugare Gumbo, Zanu (PF) spokesperson said: “The issue is being dealt with by the Ministry of Lands which knows how best to handle it.”

If Zanu (PF) goes ahead and partitions A1 farms while sparing the large A2 farms owned by the big fish, there are fears that thousands of struggling small scale farmers would pushed to the edge.


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