Nkomo calls for urgent land audit saying Grace is grabbing prime land


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Movement for Democratic Change Shadow Minister for Agriculture Samuel Sipepa Nkomo has called for an urgent land audit saying First Lady Grace Mugabe has grabbed 800 hectares of prime land in Mazowe leaving hundreds of workers unemployed and homeless.

Nkomo, the former Minister of Water, said in a statement today that the Zimbabwe Land Commission should be set up urgently in line with the country’s constitution to carry out a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan audit to weed out greedy multiple farm owners.

“Last month, Grace Mugabe took over 800 hectares of prime land at Mazoe Citrus Estates and Manshou Game Reserve in Mazowe, leaving hundreds of workers unemployed and homeless. Last year, Grace Mugabe forcibly grabbed 1 600 ha of Mazoe Citrus Estates.

“Similar reports are coming from across the country where ZANU- PF supporters are moving in and disrupting farming activities….Land resources, taken as a whole, remain chronically under-utilised and inefficiently managed.

“The continued growth of the country will require a coherent and pragmatic approach to land use planning and management. The issues of tenure, linking communal area agricultural land productivity to service agro-industrial opportunities and acceding to regional and international conventions, treaties and declarations need therefore, to be dealt with,” he said.

 

Full statement:

Thursday, 06 March 2014

Press Statement by Hon Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the MDC Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Lands and Water Development

 

The MDC is concerned that the government of the day is only interested in political expedience and is failing to implement policies that will ensure the revival of the agricultural sector and sustainability of our water reservoirs.

Food Security
Zanu PF should stop making political decisions on technical issues as evidenced by an increase of reports from the countryside that the party working with the AREX officials and the government district administrators were distributing the grain and agricultural loan schemes along partisan and corrupt lines, thereby leaving thousands of families without food and no inputs. This has created serious food insecurity in the country.

The actions of the Zanu PF government are in fundamental breach of the Constitution, which clearly states in the Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms Act that every citizen has a right to sufficient food, safe and potable water.

We urge Zanu PF to stop gambling with people’s lives for cheap political gain. Further, in a country where more than two million people need food aid, there are disturbing reports from across the country that Zanu PF officials, government officials and traditional chiefs are demanding Zanu PF membership cards from the villagers before they receive the government food aid and agricultural inputs.

The MDC’s position is that in order to prevent future food shortages, the country needs to promote policies and strategies which increase the demand for labour through a strategy of broad-based, labour-intensive growth in agriculture, agro-industries and related sectors.

Land disruptions
The MDC remains seriously concerned over the murkiness, corruption and confusion in land distribution taking place in most parts of the country.

Last month, Grace Mugabe took over 800 hectares of prime land at Mazoe Citrus Estates and Manshou Game Reserve in Mazowe, leaving hundreds of workers unemployed and homeless. Last year, Grace Mugabe forcibly grabbed 1 600 ha of Mazoe Citrus Estates.

Similar reports are coming from across the country where Zanu PF supporters are moving in and disrupting farming activities.

As the MDC, we demand the urgent establishment of the Zimbabwe Land Commission in line with the country’s Constitution that should immediately carry out a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan audit to weed out greedy multiple farm owners.

Land resources, taken as a whole, remain chronically under-utilised and inefficiently managed. The continued growth of the country will require a coherent and pragmatic approach to land use planning and management. The issues of tenure, linking communal area agricultural land productivity to service agro-industrial opportunities and acceding to regional and international conventions, treaties and declarations need therefore, to be dealt with.

Water situation
Despite receiving favourable rains this season, the Zanu PF government continues to fail in developing and supporting irrigation projects, which go a long way in alleviating food shortages.

There is need to focus on the development of smallholder irrigation schemes, increase the participation of women and the unemployed youths to embrace irrigation farming and ensure that cost saving drip irrigation is developed in all provinces.

Further, there is an urgent need to promote integrated water resources planning, management and service delivery to ensure that water does not become a constraint to national development. The integrated approach should address participatory, multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary river basin management, by recognising that water is a natural resource, by integrating linkages between land use and water use, and by giving full support to the important roles water ecosystems play in the national economy and broader ecological reproduction.

Projects implemented under the MDC in Government
While in the Inclusive government, as MDC we had made concerted efforts to try and avert the water challenges faced by the nation. Various water supply projects were continued, some completed and most near completion by the end of our tenure.

Success stories included the Mtange Dam, Mtshabezi pipeline, Bubi-Lupane Dam, Mhangura Water Supply, Birchenough Bridge Water Supply, Gokwe, Mutoko and Darwendale Water Supplies. We also had the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam, which unfortunately has recently flooded its basins forcing the rescue and relocation of thousands of villagers.

We managed to begin rehabilitation and upgrading projects of water supply stations in Sadza, Hauna, Darwendale, Glendale, Guruve, Karoi, Conemara, Chivake, Ngundu, Gutu, Makwi, Neshuro, Inyati, Victoria Falls and Kennilworth.

We prepared draft terms of conditions for the independent consultant engineer for the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam which was meant to supply water to the City of Bulawayo, we hope the Zanu PF government will ensure that this project comes to pass to ensure water supply to the City of Bulawayo.

Nyamandlovu Borehole Rehabilitation Project has a total of 49 borehole which are fully functional and pumping water into Bulawayo, seven other boreholes are fully functional but needed to be fitted with transformers by the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company.

So, the MDC played its part and expects the Zanu PF government to continue from where we left in the hope of providing clean water to the nation.

Conclusion
The MDC believes that Zimbabwe has the capacity to return to its former status of the bread basket of Africa and more but this can only be achieved when we carry one objective as a nation. We are Zimbabweans first before we belong to any political party. We should therefore strive to ensure that every citizen of this nation has been given their space to play the developmental role for themselves, their society and ultimately their nation.

The MDC is uncompromising when it comes to the provision of food, water and sanitation to the people. It is a universal human right, as such; no amount of politicking should disable other people from accessing basic goods like food and water.

The people need practical interventions in regard to food security and provision of safe, potable water therefore; the MDC urges the present government to implement appropriate policy interventions before the negative repercussions on the health and functioning of this country are increased.

I Thank You.

Hon Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo
Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land and Water Development

(4 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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