Fortunate Gora Mash West Correspondent
Government has warned politicians, village heads and councillors to stop parcelling out State land, saying the honeymoon was over for all those allocating land illegally.
That responsibility, Government says, lies solely with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement and the President. Speaking at a meeting with all district land committees from Mashonaland West province in Chinhoyi, Minister of State Webster Shamu said all squatter control teams in the province should be activated.
“Land is one of the most important economic resources in our nation, and we fought for it. Our economy is highly dependent on agriculture and consequently our resettled farmers and indeed any other farmers must produce at higher levels. All farmers should feel secure and must not be disturbed at their farms so that they make meaningful investments. Only legally settled beneficiaries should have access to their farms,” he said.
He implored the district lands committees to speedily address all land disputes to bring sanity on the farms with the assistance of the Lands Commission. People in need of land, including those coming from the Diaspora, he said, should follow the legal route of getting land and allocation should start at district level to the provincial lands committee before it gets to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.
“Self-appointed village heads, politicians and councillors must never be allowed to allocate land. Only the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement and Head of State have powers to do that. Time for land barons is over and no Zimbabwean citizen should pay for land. Administrative errors — deliberate or not — such as double allocations should stop,” he said.
Land allocation, Minister Shamu said, should be fair, orderly and done procedurally. He ordered illegal settlers to vacate the land immediately or face eviction for development sake.
“There has to be order on all farms and farm invasions cannot be allowed anymore. The process of land allocation should start at district level, to the PLC and finally to the Minister of Lands,” he said.
“Settlers without any offer letters, A1 farm permits, Government lease agreements should immediately vacate or be removed from such farms for the sake of security and high production.”
Minister Shamu said every Zimbabwean, including those in the Diaspora, have the right to land. He called for transparency in land allocation as well as withdrawal of offer letters.