VICE-PRESIDENT Joseph Msika has stripped Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement minister Didymus Mutasa of powers to issue offer letters to prospective ben
eficiaries as the row over continued land invasions intensifies.
Highly placed sources said Msika, known for his stance against the continued invasion of productive white-owned commercial farms convinced his fellow members of the presidium to withdraw the powers on the basis of complaints of gross irregularities lodged by a number of provinces.
Minister of State for Special Affairs Responsible for the Land and Resettlement Programme Flora Buka is now responsible for issuing offer letters but only to those beneficiaries with recommendations from the district and provincial land committees.
Policy Implementation minister Webster Shamu was mandated to implement recommendations of the Mashonaland West provincial leadership to nullify Mutasa’s recent land offer letters and evict all the new beneficiaries allocated farms unprocedurally.
Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Manicaland have been leading the campaign to stop the continued evictions arguing that they were counterproductive to both government objectives of mass production and Zanu PF goals of winning next year’s joint presidential and parliamentary elections.
Sources said Shamu on Wednesday took his first step to implement the recommendations when he met Mutasa to agree on how to deal with the issue.
“Mutasa only acknowledged that he was stopped from issuing any further offer letters but this did not nullify those he had already send out,” the source said.
Contacted for comment Shamu switched off his mobile phone after this reporter introduced himself. His mobile went unanswered thereafter.
If the Mashonaland West province recommendations are implemented, more than 70 white farmers could be spared continued harassment and invasions of their properties. The development would imply that a number of white farmers, facing litigation following their failure to vacate the land after eviction notices expired at the end of September, might not be taken to court.
Mashonaland West province last month recommended that the remaining white farmers be allowed to continue farming on the small pieces of land still in their possession because they worked and supported the people in the local community.
They recommended the reversion of Rydings School to the community including the amount of $800 million which was misappropriated when the school was taken over by Gerald Mlotshwa. The leadership also sought the removal of those members of the Zimbabwe National Army, the police, and senior civil servants who illegally occupied farms in Mashonaland West province.
They called for the nullification of the offer letters issued to Noma Mliswa for Summerhill Farm, Rotina Mavhunga (the diesel n’anga) for Baguta Extension, Brigadier General Dube for Grand Parade and Brigadier Mtisi for Folliot farm and their eviction from the said farms.