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Another committee to audit land reform

Augustine Mukaro

GOVERNMENT is setting up yet another committee to correct anomalies in the land reform programme which saw thousands of peasant farmers being dumped on pieces of land which they are unable t

o till.

Responding to questions on behalf of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement minister, John Nkomo, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament last week that government was putting in place a vetting committee to assess the level of land utilisation throughout the country.

“My ministry is currently putting in place a vetting committee, which will go round the country to ensure that beneficiaries allocated land fully utilise it,” Chinamasa said.

“The main focus at the moment is to ensure that all those who have been allocated land put the land to productive use.”

The committee is the sixth to try to clean up the mess caused by the haphazard seizure of formerly white-owned commercial farmland. The first attempt was by former Land Reform minister Flora Buka.

The committee’s findings were swept under the carpet after unearthing serious irregularities in the land distribution process.

It was followed by the Charles Utete land audit which made similar findings. It also revealed that ministers and other top Zanu PF officials had grabbed more than one farm each against government policy. The report also revealed that while government claimed to have resettled 300 000 families under the A1 and 54 000 under the A2 schemes the situation on the ground was more sobering. Only 129 000 families had been settled under A1 and a mere 7 000 under A2.

In a bid to correct the glaring shortcomings, government came up with the Cabinet Land Acquisition Committee chaired by Vice-President Joseph Msika.

Msika’s committee did not do much before it was overtaken by the Presidential Land Review Committee led by John Nkomo mandated to implement Mugabe’s call to recover excess farms.

There was also a parliamentary committee that audited the land reform programme.

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