LANDS, Land Reform and Resettlement minister Didymus Mutasa has come under attack from the Zanu PF leadership for flouting land redistribution procedure
s laid down by the party at its eighth annual conference at Esgodini in 2005.
Highly placed sources in Zanu PF said the ruling party provincial leaderships throughout the country have raised concerns over the continued issuance of offer letters to Mutasa’s cronies, which they described as unprocedural since they do not conform to the requirements set out by President Robert Mugabe.
Government requires that all new land allocations have recommendations from district lands committees, provincial lands committees and be approved by the national lands committee before Mutasa can issue an offer letter.
“You cannot have people from nowhere coming to claim land in districts where they are not known,” a Zanu PF MP from Mashonaland West said.
The MP said Mutasa had gone on an offer letter issuing frenzy, planting his cronies at few operating farms as a way of boosting his influence.
“Mutasa cannot simply settle his people, resulting in the current farm disruptions. What we are saying is that vast stretches of land are not being utilised. Let’s first ensure that the land lying idle is put to productive use. When we see the need for more land then the maximum farm size policy should apply before disturbing those that are operating.”
The sources said all provinces have disapproved of the continued issuance of new offer letters arguing that this was counterproductive.
“Mashonaland East, Masvingo and Manicaland came out strongly against the continued disturbances in agriculture during last month’s politburo meeting,” said one source. “They have sent delegations to make representations to Vice-President Joseph Msika saying what Mutasa was doing was discrediting the party ahead of elections next year.”
Another source said Msika’s recent pronouncements in Chiredzi that conservancies should not be disturbed were partly in response to the representations brought to his office.
The Mashonaland West leadership last month demanded the removal and nullification of offer letters issued to Noma Mliswa for Summerhill Farm, Rotina Mavhunga for Baguta Extension, Brigadier General Dube for Grande Parade and Brigadier Mtisi for Folliot farm.
Mliswa, Mlotshwa and Mavhunga are well-known Mutasa cronies. Mlotshwa is Mutasa’s lawyer while Mliswa is the minister’s nephew and Mavhunga is the controversial diesel n’anga and Mutasa’s personal consultant.
The source said the Mashonaland provincial leadership would ensure that those with unprocedural
offer letters would be removed so that sanity prevails ahead of the elections.
“We will seek the consent of Msika (VP responsible for land reform) and what he says will carry the day,” the MP said. “As we approach the elections there is no need to create a disgruntled electorate who will vote against us.”
The continued issuance of offer letters has triggered a wave of evictions throughout the country, disrupting the few operating agricultural businesses.
The sources accused Mutasa of using the land reform to plant his people in provinces to bolster his bid for a position in the presidium.
Mutasa has openly declared his interest to become vice-president.
Earlier in the week he defended his position, describing his approach as nationalistic and progressive in outlook, castigating some politicians for advocating racial and tribal tendencies.
He accused some politicians of supporting white farmers for personal gain.