MASVINGO – The Land Commission, whose mandate is to ensure fair distribution of land and hold regular audits descended on Masvingo on Monday where it nicodemusly held an enquiry on disputes including double allocations, boundary and illegal settlements
Tens of resettled farmers from many parts of Masvingo and particularly Chiredzi attended inquiries that started on July 18, 2022, and are expected to end between Monday and Wednesday next week.
The Vice Chairman of the Commission, Abdul Credit Gabriel Nyathi, a retired Army Major refused to comment on the purpose of the current inquiry. However, insiders said while the inquiry purported to be looking at general issues on land, the real mission is to find out how some high profile opposition members got land and to weed them out.
It is also thought that the Inquiry is intended to deal with Zanu PF politicians in the wrong factions.
“I report to one man and that is the Minister of State for Masvingo. After holding the Inquiry, I will submit my report to him and no one else,” said Nyathi.
He also refused The Mirror permission to attend the Inquiry.
“There is urgency to weed out high profile opposition members who got land and to establish how they got it and who gave them,” said an insider who requested not to be named.
The refusal by Nyathi to make public statement on the process is against the Commission’s founding mandate and Act which emphasises accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of agricultural land.
Normally such inquiries are widely advertised to ensure that all interested parties are informed.
“The Zimbabwe Land Commission is empowered by the Act to perform the following functions; to ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of agricultural land that is vested in the State, to conduct periodical audits of agricultural land, to make recommendations to the Government regarding the acquisition of private land for public purposes, and for equitable access to and holding and occupation of agricultural land”, reads a statement on the Commission’s website.
The distribution of land in Zimbabwe has been described as one of the most corrupt in the world, with high profile Zanu PF politicians owning some up to 15 farms, according to reports on former President Robert Mugabe. In Chiredzi many politicians own multiple sugarcane plots registered in names of children and other relatives.
The Minister of State for Masvingo was recently arrested but the case did not proceed in court allegedly after an instruction from a high office in the country.
Farmers who attended the Inquiry told The Mirror that there have been no formal invitations to attend.
“We were called on our mobile phones to come and attend the Inquiries. Some of the cases that are being attended were reported to the Commission more than seven years ago. It’s curious that we are not being given any invitation letters making this process formal.
“This is the most archaic and baffling formal Government process I have ever attended. As it is I am going back home but I have nothing to refer to as having attended this inquiry,” said a farmer from Chiredzi.
One farmer from Summerton in Chiredzi who spoke to The Mirror on condition of anonymity said the hearings are just a smoke screen to hide corrupt activities by high profile people and politicians.
“These hearings are just a waste of resources because they are not addressing the matters on the ground. They are politically motivated and are targeting Zanu PF factions and opposition CCC members. I don’t think they will resolve anything,” she said.