Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » No Room for Corruption in Land Allocation

Zimbabweans, including those in the Diaspora, should know that land as an empowerment tool is not for sale and anyone found guilty of using hisher office or political influence to fleece people of their hard-earned money under the pretext of assisting them get it must face the full wrath of the law.

Heroes and heroines who fought to liberate this country did not sacrifice so that some misguided bureaucrats and politicians could sell the land to land-hungry citizens.

As such, we condemn the alleged practice by former Zanu-PF councillor for Mayo Ward in Makoni District, Cde James Munetsi, and all the officials in the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement in that area who are said to have connived to induce landless people to pay them money so that they could get farms.

That having been said, the 240 people who say they lost money to Cde Munetsi in the hope of getting farms also deserve a measure of censure for willingly entering into corrupt dealing.

Had these people not been conned as they allege, they were perfectly happy to pay bribes to get farms. More shocking is the fact that many of these bribes were paid through a church, Faith in God Ministries!

We hear that this corrupt practice of paying Government officials to access land is widespread.

Thankfully, Lands Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora has promised to get to the bottom of the matter.

We eagerly await the outcome of his investigations and — if there is evidence of illegalities — the guilty must answer for their actions.

The land reform programme is a noble empowerment policy that has benefited over 250 000 families under the A1 and A2 farming models.

We cannot allow a few bad apples to taint the entire programme because of their greed.

Demand for land will continue to grow as the population grows and there is need to properly manage this finite resource.

As such, Government must rationalise farm sizes so that all those in need of land, and who are capable and willing to exploit it, actually benefit.

This can immediately be done by identifying underutilised land for redistribution.

Having a big farm but not using it creates land pressures and fuels graft, in addition to not benefiting the nation.

Government should create more awareness on the process of applying for land so that people know how to go about it.

Further to that, the entire process must be made as transparent and expeditious as possible to cut out corruption by officials and land-hungry people.

People must be aware that at present, land is applied for through district land committees chaired by district administrators, and those who want A2 farms will have their approved applications forwarded to provincial lands committees chaired by provincial ministers.

All these stages are free and no cent is paid. Those who qualify are given offer letters or permits as the case may be.

Government must do something, especially at district level, to ensure officials do not ask for payments to facilitate applications and allocations.

Source : The Herald