Home » Governance » Dawn of New Era for A1 Farmers

President Mugabe yesterday opened a new chapter in the land reform programme when he launched A1 settlement permits which ensure that farmers have security of tenure and can be used as collateral.

The permits, which confirm ownership of specific pieces of land by newly-resettlement farmers, were launched at Chifundi Farm in Mashonaland West Province, where 79 A1 farmers from the farm and from Emily Park Farm were handed the first batch.

The permits are not transferable and bear a map of the plot allocated and details of the beneficiaries and their spouses, even in cases of polygamy.

They state that each farmer is entitled to six hectares of arable land and access to communal grazing land.

The President said the permits were a seal on the land reform programme and would complement the 99-year leases launched in November 2006 in a bid to securitise the land and give beneficiaries security of tenure on the farms.

“Following the successful implementation of our land reform programme, today’s event is appropriately akin to putting the icing on the cake,” President Mugabe said. “Today, we indeed celebrate the emancipation and empowerment of our people as we unveil the A1 settlement permits.”

President Mugabe said the permits would be issued to only those who were productive and had infrastructural developments on their plots.

He said the permits for the A1 farmers and leases for A2 farms were a shield against Western machinations to reverse the land reform programme through the MDC-T.

The President warned people against inviting white former commercial farmers back to the land saying he was aware that some Government ministers were sub-letting farms acquired under the land reform programme to such people, while some chiefs were illegally settling people.

He said ministers should lead by example and warned that action would be taken against those who breached regulations.

“If there are those who still believe that the land they acquired was to afford them places to visit over weekends for braais and picnic parties, or for prestige or as places for interment when they pass on, then surely these will, sooner than later, lose the farms allocated to them,” he said.

“We are aware that some have either abandoned land allocated to them without having constructed any buildings thereon others have sub-leased the land, or surrendered it to individuals for lease rentals which are a pittance. What annoys us even more is where our own indigenous farmers sub-lease to the very same white farmers we took our heritage from yesterday.”

President Mugabe said the land came as a result of sacrifices by people, both living and dead, including icons such as the late Vice-Presidents Dr Joshua Nkomo, Dr Simon Muzenda, Joseph Msika and John Landa Nkomo.

“Munhu wega wega ngaarege kushaya paanoti apa ndopake, pangave padiki,” he said. “Saka ivhu rakakosha zvikuru. Manzwa Mai Mujuru vachiti vazhinji vakaritambudzikira. Pane avo vataive navo kunze vane ruzivo rwematambudziko ataisangana nawo.

“Saka harisi ivhu rekutamba naro. Wapihwa netsika yakanaka nechidhindo (permit) chatauya nacho nhasi, hatidi mangwana kuti tizonzwa kuti aah nerweseri wakanotsvaga murungu kana mumwewo wakowo wekuzvitorera kana kunaana Harare uchiti aah huya uzogara pano, hazvibvumirwe.”

President Mugabe called on traditional leaders to desist from distributing land without following laid down procedures.

He said there had been an outcry, particularly in Mashonaland West province, that many white farmers still remained on the land targeted for resettlement under the protection of top Government and party officials.

President Mugabe said Zanu-PF provincial chairman Cde Temba Mliswa had briefed him about the issue.

“Vamwe vanonzi vari mumaconstituency evakuru,” he said. “Asika takarwisa isusu vanhu ivava havasi vekuitira mwoyochena.

Havana kutandwa munyika… kana vari mumaindustry, mumadhorobha, mumaflats avo vaine mabhizimisi. Kune zvimwewo maitiro atiri kuita mumadhorobha. Vane macompanies … fine asi vachiteerera murawo watava kuita iyezvino. But kuno kuvhu revanhu, kwete.”

“Vamwe maministers angu varikudomwa pano apa varikunzi varikuramba kubvisa varungu ivavo mumaconstituencies avo, kwete,” he said. “Ko tinenge tichivadireiko? And we must demonstrate ka to the rest of the people kana tiri maministers isusu kuti zvatiri kuti zviitwe nehuzhinji hwevanhu tiri kuzviita isu vatungamiri.”

President Mugabe chronicled the long road Zimbabwe travelled in a bid to regain its land, saying the journey had been marked by untenable laws and international isolation at the behest of Britain.

He said Britain tried all dirty tricks to frustrate the process, but Zimbabwe remained resolute and the permits were an assertion of the ownership of land by indigenous people.

Farmers, the President said, would now be able to borrow money from banks using the permits as collateral.

He said to those with large tracts of land time will come when the land will have to be sub-divided owing to demand for land as the population grew.

This, he said, would have to be done in an orderly manner following proper procedures, saying self-allocation of land would never be tolerated.

Speaking at the same occassion, Vice President Joice Mujuru said the A1 permits represented a milestone in the struggle for land in Zimbabwe, saying Zim-Asset was anchored on land.

“You cannot plan life without the land, she said. Our livilihoods depend on the land. So, we cannot talk about Zim-Asset without the land. The permits are a seal of our wealth as a nation.”

Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said the A1 permits were not transferable and violation would lead to their withdrawal.

Source : The Herald

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