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National Assembly Hansard 17 November 2016 Vol 43 no 13

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 17th November, 2016

The National Assembly met at a Quarter- past Two o’clock p.m.

 PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

BASELINE SURVEYS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that there are Baseline Surveys that are currently underway at Parliament.  These include, the Baseline Survey on environment and climate change issues and legislative analysis, among others.  The Baseline Surveys will assist Parliament to mobilise resources for capacity building and other related activities. Hon. Chairpersons and Hon. Members are kindly requested to assist and cooperate with persons conducting the surveys.

          Hon. Chamisa having stood up well after the Hon. Speaker had called for notices of motions and no one stood up.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: What were you thinking about, I called for notices of motions and nobody stood up.

          HON. CHAMISA: I was still in the process of thinking Hon. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The process of thinking was too long.  What is the notice of motion?

          HON. CHAMISA: It is not a notice of motion Hon. Speaker, but just to look at the feasibility of seeking your discretion and direction on the Order Paper.  If you were to have regard to the Order Paper, Hon. Speaker Sir, you will realise that there are two motions on page 123, item 8 and also page 125, item 12.  You will realise that the import or substance of both motions has to do with the issue of police brutality but these are two sides of the same coin. 

          I do not think that it is expedient for Parliament to look at those motions separately.  We may need, out of adroit and dexterous consideration, take the motions to be considered together.  I am sure if you were to look at those motions Hon. Speaker Sir, I do not think it would make a sound consideration for us to look at those motions separately.  We may need to just skin the cat once instead of having many ways to skin the cat.  In other words, we will actually be wasting a lot of time.  So, if we may just look at the harmonisation of the two motions.  In fact, I sought to discuss with Hon. Mandipaka.  Hon. Mandipaka was not hostile to the idea – [Laughter.] –   

          I think that what we just want to do is to make sure that we do not plough the same field twice, unless if you feel that it is still okay, we can still have repetitive deliberative engagement of the issues that are at hand.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: So, that is a point of privilege, is it not?

          HON. CHAMISA: Not necessarily privilege, I was battling because I could not bring it as a point of privilege, but I thought I needed to seek your indulgence because it is supposed to come.  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  It is a point of privilege to the extent that it is your privilege to debate these motions in this august House.  Our suggestion is that perhaps the two movers should approach the Clerk and see how the cat can be skinned once without multiple skinning.  I can see both of you looking at each other with charming eyes and a smile.  So that shall be done accordingly and then we find the way forward. 

There is a motion by Hon. Mudzuri but unfortunately, I did not go through it.  If you do not mind, can I have a look at it then you move it next week on Tuesday.

HON. ENG. MUDZURI:  It is alright Mr. Speaker Sir.  I had also not seen the final version so you can move it to next week.  Thank you.

SECOND READING

LAND COMMISSION BILL (H.B. 2, 2016)

          First Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Land Commission Bill (H.B. 2, 2016).

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. MAPIKI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am supporting this Bill and I think it should be introduced to the House quickly because there are people from my constituency who have illegally resettled themselves, especially those farm labourers who were left by whites.  I want to remind the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement that when Tongogara was leading the struggle, we were not fighting the whites but we were fighting the system.  There was no equal allocation of land.  So, there is need to relook at the big farms and divide them equitably because land is our inheritance.  We all want to enjoy that inheritance and that should be looked at expeditiously.  If you look at the list of people who do not have land, it is very long.  Everyone wants to benefit and for that war to end, the Commission has to look into that issue. 

During the liberation struggle there were no parties which we have these days.  It was only blacks against whites and now all the black people need land.  There is also the issue of boundaries which has to be looked at very closely.  Land officers are seized with this boundary issue and it has to be resolved because A1 and A2 farmers want to live in harmony.  When boundaries were made, we did not have any land policy to follow.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order Hon Members, I only need one Member who is debating to be standing.  Hon. Majome and Hon. Nduna, can you please sit down.

*HON. MAPIKI:  The other issue I want to be looked at is that of title deeds.  If land is given title deeds, it does not work because in Kenya, when they started their land reform, they gave people title deeds.  Those whites who had been given title deeds came back and started leasing the land to the black people but they failed to service.  As a result, re-colonisation emerged because of the issue of title deeds.  So, I do not think we should go the title deeds way.  This idea of 99 year lease agreements will also give us problems in the future because if some people do not have land, that means we will sit down again and start all over to cut the big farms so as to make sure everyone has something.  What it means is that people will continue to die for this land in the near future.  So this Commission should seriously look into that because our children might start another war.  If our children ask us why we went to war yet we do not have land, it means it is another war which is being started.  I think this Bill was long overdue.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members.  The Members on the same bench where Hon. Shamu is sitting, can you please lower your voices so that we can hear what the Hon. Member is saying.

          *HON. MAPIKI:  In conclusion, I think the Commission should investigate cases of farming and mining because right now many white farmers are coming back and engaging into mining activities.  They are pegging mining claims in the areas where farming activities are being carried out. So now we do not know who the real owner of the land is, the miner or the farmer.  It is like mining is being given more precedence.  For instance, where I come from, many people are now being moved from those areas because people are mining.  Therefore the Commission should look into these issues so that it is clear which is more important, mining or farming.  If both are important, there should be laws enacted to protect those engaged in farming because many farms are being pegged into mining claims.  There is also the issue of paying taxes; the same land is now being charged double from the miner and the farmer.  But the person who benefits most is the miner and not the farmer.  So I think this land commission should solve this issue.  Thank you.

          *HON. MUPFUMI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I would want to thank the Minister for the Land Commission Bill.  The struggle in this country was there because of land.  The sanctions that we are seized with now, which were imposed on us by the West and supported by their friends on the other side were because of land. 

          HON. NDEBELE:  On a point of order Hon. Speaker, could the Hon. Member be asked to withdraw his statement.  Such statements do not work well for nation building at all; they are retrogressive. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Which statement exactly?

          HON. NDEBELE:  My shona may not be good but “iyoyo yekuti shamwari dzavo dzakagara uko but they spend more time overseas than we do. – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] - 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  There is no insult when you say “shamwari dzangu.”  There is no insult there, it is in good humour.  Thank you. 

          *HON. MUPFUMI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker for your understanding.  You know it and it is on record that when we took our land in Darwendale, the whites were busy writing cheques in order to reverse the land issue.  That is why I am saying their friends are on my right.  Besides that, the Minister’s plans are in good faith that there should be a commission which should look into the issue of those who were allocated more farms so that it goes well for everyone. 

However, what pains me is that these farms which we are talking about are the same farms which belonged to the whites.  The owners are being given 99 year leases but what pains me is that where our parents and grandparents are settled, they do not have title deeds.  If you look at countries like Nigeria, you find that the rural people have title deeds but our people who are settled in the rural areas do not have anything.  If they are being relocated, they do not get any compensation.  Up to now, they do not hold any claim to that land.  So, I think a law should be enacted so that our people have title deeds.  When they want to engage in business, at least they should be known where they stay.  They should also have 99 year leases, which are the same as those that are given to newly resettled farmers.  Thank you.

HON. NYAMUPINGA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I also want to thank the mover of this motion and the seconder.  I also want to add my voice on one item on this motion.  We understand that the Ministry of Lands will be charging taxes of about $5 or $2 per hectare on the pieces of land that people were allocated.  However, I just want to bring out the fact that some people were allocated land that is not 100% arable.  For example, some were given 300 hectares and you find that only 50 hectares is arable and the other land is hilly and you cannot even keep livestock on those hills. 

When it comes to taxes, we hope the Ministry will consider such types of land so that people will not end up farming and working just to pay taxes.  This is because it means 50 hectares will have to off-set the bill for the other 250 hectares.  So, I thought I should add this on the motion.  We are grateful that we were given land but now that we have to farm and produce as required to turn around the economy of the country and also to retain the bread basket of Africa status, we need to consider that when people are paying taxes, they should pay for the land that is usable.  Whether it is for livestock or farming, it has to be usable and not just to be told that you have got a big piece of land when the vast tracts of the land is not usable.  I thought I should add my voice Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you.

HON. CHIRISA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I would want to thank the Minister for the Land Commission Bill.  My first comment is on the name given to the commission, which is an executive commission and is very different from the other independent commissions.  I guess this is in line with Section 297 of the Constitution, if I am not wrong.  My fear now is that as an executive commission, they will be responsible to the Minister and also all written policies coming from the Minister should be implemented by the executive commission because it is not an independent commission. 

My second point Mr. Speaker Sir, is that the Bill is not clear on the issue of conflicts and interests.  Under Clause 6(5), it says “the Commission is given that discretion to act on conflicts of interest,” on Clause 13(2), it goes on to say it will be a crime for a member to participate in an audit, investigation or any other issue while aware that he or she is conflicted.  It is also not clear on the issue of the powers vis-à-vis the independence of the executive because the Minister on the other hand is giving directives.  I think it should be clear on that issue too.

          On Clause 35(2), the land-holder can appeal to the Minister, at the same time that Minister who makes a decision on that appeal is the same Minister that the farmer will appeal to at the next stage.  I think this need to be looked into again on Clause 35(2).  The Bill does not include changes to the Land Acquisition Act.  The provision regarding compensation should be clear. 

We are talking of the land audit.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I want the Bill to be very clear on women’s position in terms of land ownership. It should look at the vulnerable in terms of ownership; the child headed families, where do they fit when it comes to land audit, are they being considered as land owners because they are heading a family?  Social Welfare Department is giving out food and handouts because they know that these are child headed families.  I feel that they should be considered when it comes to land ownership. 

On women empowerment, at the moment farmers are having problems of accessing bank loans and other inputs.  When it comes to agricultural inputs, it is the head of the family or the head of the compound that is given inputs and women are not being considered.  Like I said earlier, women should be land owners and should be provided with inputs.  Also they should relax the requirements for women to get bank loans and all other financial services.

The reason why women are not benefiting is because politicians are using land as bait for getting votes at the end of their term.  I think the Bill should stop politicians from using land as campaign tool.  Hon. Nduna this other day mentioned that if the husband passes on, the wife should be given 50% of the property.  It should not be 50% following the husband’s death but it this should be done when both spouses are still alive.  I think Hon. Nduna was referring to inheritance; that is inheritance.   Also, there should be a link between women in agriculture, mining and land.  They should be linked so that they work together to enhance and advance women’s interests.

Last but not least, we want to see gender equality in the Land Commission. 

HON. MUDARIKWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for allowing me to contribute to this very important Bill which has been brought by the Hon. Minister.  The Land Commission Bill is a continuation of consolidation of our hard won independence.  The history of displacement of our people, the Chimurenga wars were all fought because we had to take our land from the colonisers.  The process that involved heroes of our struggle included Mbuya Nehanda and also Lozikeyi Dlodlo from Matebeleland.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I have mentioned her because at the end of the war, when they agreed to say we must stop war against the British settlers, she said I will never surrender until you give me my piece of land – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – That shows the importance of land and the importance of women in the struggle for land.  She laid the foundation of our struggle. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, the genesis of the Land Reform Programme is now based on the contribution and intelligence of this lady Lozikheyi Dlodlo, the supreme wife of Lobengula.  When we talk of history, we must not choose where to begin from to say we have displaced white people.  We must also realise that the white people first of all displaced us.  In collaboration with certain missionaries, they destroyed the social fabric of our society.  First and foremost, they taught us to deny ourselves, they taught us to believe that we are guilty; we committed a crime that we did not know and we need to be baptized so that we are liberated in mind – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – This process of alienation, where you start refusing your father and your name.  My name is Simbaneuta Mudarikwa if I go to a certain church, I must be given a European name, this is a processing of wanting you to deny your identity first. 

The Bill before the House is so critical to the development of our identity; first and foremost as Zimbabweans across political divide.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Land Commission must also look at how – even if you give me title deeds, 99-Year Lease, if we do not look at the way how the Kenyans were displaced, we will have problems.  Kenyans got land but they were displaced.  They were given title deeds.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in this country as Parliament, as the august House, we are presiding over interests rates which if you add them, they will be between 20% and 30% per annum. This is criminal because in America the maximum interest rates is five percent.  Now, I have 99-Year Lease, I lose my land on interest rates which were pegged at 20%, it is criminal and it is unacceptable.  The Americans charge five percent.  Also the micro finance, they will say we want rollover every year.  What we are supposed to do is that there must be a Clause that when the land is being sold, if I owe somebody money, they must know how to calculate the interest rates.  If it is more than five percent, the land must not be sold.  You can sell all the tractors and irrigation pipes but the land must remain in the name of the farm owner – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes.] – If you read a newspaper, everyday, houses are for sale, why, they are being sold because people borrowed money and when they borrowed that money, interest rates went up to 45%.  We are doing nothing as the august House.  We were elected by the people, we must defend our people from international capital which is stealing houses and land.  It is important Mr. Speaker Sir.  I visited my brother and the Messenger of Court had been there. They had no TV and were now sitting on empty gallons and tins.   Sofas had been taken by the Messenger of Court and the kids could not believe what was happening. You know especially  3/ 4 year old children did not understand.  They said to babamudiki, people came and stole our sofas but I wrote the registration number of the vehicle - the other one was written Messenger of the High Court, Messenger of Court. All this must now be streamlined. The Land Commission Bill must look at ways of protecting our people.

          In fact, there must be a clause that says, I have a 99 year lease; I must be on that land for 99 years. They can take all the cattle if I borrow money – [Laughter.] - they can even take all my clothes and leave me naked, but they cannot remove me from my land because this is what belongs to me.  It is mine. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – That is what I have inherited and this piece of land is what I have inherited. Most of us here inherited poverty, that is why when we discuss certain things people are just vicious because they are poor. Poverty Mr. Speaker Sir, is the most dangerous weapon that can destroy the dignity of a person. It is the inability to utilise resources around you for your personal village, tribal national benefit. We have been totally displaced and we continue to move and do anything. If I go out there and start shouting, everybody will come and join me because they are poor.  They are hoping at the end of the day, I will give them some biscuits and some drinks – [Laughter.]-

          So, the process that the Hon. Minister must do is to make sure that this land, like the one given to me as Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, is my piece of land for the next 99 years and then it comes to my son, like what you read in the Bible. It is very clear - land is the source of all conflicts and we must avoid that. Somebody cannot take away my land because he has given me $100.00.   He says, roll over $100.00 and it comes to $1000.00 and $1000.00 roll over, it comes to $2000.00. We cannot allow those things to happen.  So, Hon. Minister, I feel it is important that you also protect everybody who is going onto the land.

 There is an issue of inheritance that happens when somebody dies. It must take the normal inheritance course. If somebody has two wives, their names must appear before the person dies. Your Lands- Officer must know who is who on the farm when they move around. There is no point to say, after death then you want to include names. No, an offer letter must be Simbaneuta Mudarikwa wife number one; if I have got two wives wife number two.  Everybody must be covered in the offer letter.  People must be protected because a farm is not a shoe that belongs to me alone.   It belongs to the whole family. It belongs to my kids and it belongs to everybody.   Now, we are issuing out offer letters in the name of one person. When that person dies you see many people coming and everybody wanting to claim the land.

          We want to protect our people, family institutions must be protected and let us get a leaf from the Indians. When they build a house- first floor, second floor, they are all there and when they eat curry they all eat curry from first floor to third floor. So, the family institution must be protected on the farm. The names must be there. The Lands Commission must get birth certificates and must keep the data of the farms. It must not be something new to say we only heard this name. It must be protected.

 Mr. Speaker Sir, I was once a Minister of State responsible for Mashonaland East. Resettlement Officers must not assume false powers like what they assume these days. When they get to farms, people start saying mashefu auya. No, they are there; they are just officers providing a service. We must also empower our people and we must educate our people that these pieces of land belong to them. It is our responsibility especially Hon. Members to go out and educate our people on the importance of land.

Africa is where it is today because we do not consolidate the family institution.  At the end of the day, you go out and see that after the death of somebody, people are suffering; things have been sold.

So, Mr. Speaker Sir,  I want to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing the Land Commission Bill and it has my 100% support.  By the way, I come from Uzumba Constituency which has got more votes than any other Hon. Member in this august House. So my voice  is louder and clear and has more dignity, more support than any other Hon. Member. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to add my voice in support of this Bill that has been brought before the House by the Minister of Lands and Resettlement.  I would like to start with the Chairman’s Report of the Committee. The Chairman of the Committee did point out that there was a short prelude that he gave that details how the land revolution started. I would like to point out some of the omissions. The first nationalist to acquire land and redistribute it was Ndabaningi Sithole at Churu Farm. Government declared that illegal and repossessed his farm and actually distributed it for other purposes. The second group of Africans to embark on land repossession was Chief Svosve in Marondera. I think when we present our reports, let us point out and give credit where it is due.

When it comes to the issue of the Land Commission, in our 2002 manifesto of the MDC, we were the first group to actually speak of bringing sanity to the land redistribution programme by ensuring that we had the land audit and also that we should have a Land Commission to conduct a land audit.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to object to some of the innuendos that were put across yesterday by some of the Hon. Members, to say if I have a family of 10 children, I should have 10 farms. The father and mother should have their own farm and the other 10 children should have their own farms. That is not workable in African families. We have in this country people who have 70/80 children.  Are we suggesting that these families should have 80 farms? It does not make sense and hope the Minister takes note of that.

The other area is of taxation.  I agree with the speaker earlier on who actually suggested that we should tax arable land. If we go back historically, you find that is why we were paying - I would say drainage, but I could not find the word in English but it is makandiwa. We were paying tax based on makandiwa simply because we were paying for arable land and not for mountains and big snakes that live up the mountain because that is one issue we can never control. So, I think it is a viable proposal that is being put across. So, there is also an issue that I would like to advocate that when the Land Commission does its work, let us look at wild life farming. We are just talking of cattle and whatever it is, but let us look at wild life farming. In our resettlement programmes, the Land Commission should actually take note of areas where there was wild life and it is no longer available. The threat is that when our grand children grow up they will never see a wild hare or a wild buck because in the resettlement programmes, they were abuses of other issues including poaching in some of these areas and we need to redistribute wild animals into some of these areas where we are farming. 

Mr. Speaker, I would like also to express my support for the Committee’s recommendations, most of them.  However, there is also need for the Land Commission to take note of what is happening of late, where we have a bull in a China shop.  Our Chinese colleagues are leasing farms for farming purposes.  The problem with what our Chinese colleagues are doing is, instead of concentrating on farming, they are mining illegally within those farms where they are farming.  This is an area that should be of concern to Members of this august House where they are mining without accountability.  One would like to know where the gold and platinum is going when people move in on ten year leases pretending that they are there to farm. 

They do the farming of course but there is illegal mining going on within those farms.  The Chinese are very good in saying that you must not trespass into the area where they are farming.  In other words, it is very difficult to observe some of these misdemeanours but this is a fact Mr. Speaker, that I have observed as I travel to my rural area, that Chinese farmers are abusing the land that they are leasing.  I thank you.

HON. CHAPFIKA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me the opportunity to air my views and to thank the Minister for bringing this very important Land Commission Bill before this august House.  This Bill is similar to life and death of the people of Zimbabwe.  Zimbabweans are known to belong to the land as opposed to other countries and the Hon. Minister must ensure that the Commission do not just look at the mountains and snakes but to take this into account. 

When the Commission is looking at these farms, they should consider the social amenities that are at the farms like the schools, clinics and resorts because they do not belong to the individual farmer. 

They are just coming from a very serious period of El Nino and most of the resettled farmers are going through a traumatic period. I say a traumatic period because the country at the moment is reeling under sanctions.  There are no financial resources available to fund the farmer.  Most of the farmers, as we speak, have resorted with the blessing of the honourable Minister to engage into contract farming that is more like rendering the farm owner to be a farm manager in real terms.  The percentages that they are being paid are between 5, 7 and 10 percent of whatever is produced on that farm by the white farmer.  As we speak, literally outside the command agriculture, the resettled farmer is, I do not want to use the term squatter, actually an employee of the white farmer. 

Those are the issues we need to ask ourselves why it is like that. When we look at issues to do with the Land Commission, yes we are making sure that we protect, we put this law and institutions but we also need to go ahead as the Executive, as Government to say what are the other challenges that will come with the new farmer.  It is the absence of anchor institutions.  There are no anchor institutions at the moment, Mr. Speaker Sir. 

If I buy a tractor and I am in Mutoko, if that tractor breaks down – Government has put in place the Brazil Mechanisation programmes – once that tractor breaks down, that is it.  There is no infrastructure.  You have to hire a lorry to transport that tractor from Mutoko all the way to Harare.  Those workshops which the former white farmers used to have in the rural areas are no longer there.  So, it is important that as we look at these laws, these anchor institutions that are pertinent to the success of agriculture are looked at including capacitating the support infrastructure, the agritex officials by ensuring that they are mobile in order to support this whole issue. 

We are talking about the Land Commission because land is so important, that is why there is a Commission but land alone, if it remains furrow, it does not help anybody.  So, it is important that the Executive look around and once this is done, they should consider issues to do with the anchor institutions. 

On the proposal which is coming as far as the land tax is concerned, if the $5 could be waived for now and be introduced after 2017 which hopefully, people are saying is going to be a good season.  Going backwards, it has been really a traumatic period for the majority of the farmers.  Mr. Speaker, I just thought I should add my voice and also ensure that the 99 year lease is accelerated.  I think most of the issues have been advanced by my colleagues. 

It is important to ensure that the 99 year lease must be bankable but must not be freely transferable because the challenges are genuine.  It has happened in other countries that the land will eventually gravitate back to the people that we repossessed it from.  If there is going to be any transferability of land, it must be limited and the State must have control and the owner must not the prejudiced.  If it is to do with debt, once that debt is retired, the original owner must be given opportunity to own back that land.  Land is important to the people of Zimbabwe.  With those few comments, I thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. 

*HON MALABA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I would like to make my contribution on what has been said regarding the Land Commission.  I am very grateful because the Minister is introducing the Land Commission which is going to look into all the problems affecting the Land Commission and on how land was distributed.  It is our wish that when the Commission is processing these documents, they should look at some of the problems and anomalies which were faced during the land redistribution.

I recall, there are some places where people where improperly resettled and we also have some people coming from other regions and settled into other people’s regions whereby the indigenous people of that area did not benefit.  On the contrary, those people would have benefited in the other areas, also benefited in their home areas and benefited again.  When the farms were taken over by Government, we realised that the resettlement was not implemented as had been suggested.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very painful that people come into your home area where you grew up, you do not benefit and yet the people of that area were supposed to benefit since it is their area which had been taken. As a result, the indigenous people of that area had to buy farm produce from those people who were resettled.  I am saying this because in future, there is going to be a tribal war whereby our grandchildren will be asking why we have foreigners settling into our area.  It is going to be a vicious tribal war and these people who were allocated land at the expense of the supposed beneficiaries are indigenous people in that area.  In like manner, when land was redistributed to the people, they were a lot of mistakes which were carried out and some of them were corruptly given this land.  We had some people who had to sell their properties so that they could acquire that land. 

          I have an example of Badminton Farm in Matabeleland North.  People in that area were allocated that land using the powers given by Chief Deli.  It is now 10 years since they have been settled on that area but as I speak now, those people had been viciously evicted from that land.  I am saying viciously because their property was burnt down and forcefully removed.  As I speak now, their domestic animals have turned to wild animals because these people ran away and left them.  So, that is why I am begging that this Commission should make a follow up on how this land was re-distributed.  If it was corruptly redistributed, that problem should be solved because it creates problems in the future.      I personally know that you are aware of the problem I am stating because it was brought to you. 

We also talked about the land issue in this country, we came to the extent of taking up arms to fight for this land viciously and we have found that it is painful and very difficult to be faced by a problem which you cannot solve.  I was born in Matobo in Nkezi but grew up in Tsholotsho simply because we were evicted from Nkezi to Tsholotsho.  My grandmother was taken to Jotsholo where they were resettled forcibly by the whites.  That place had arid land, you could not farm anything and not only that, and you would be living side by side with wild animals.  One cannot core-exist with wild animals because whatever it is that you grow, the animals will come and fight you and invade or stray into your fields.  We are not supposed to torment the people who were the indigenous people in that area.  We need to correct these problems, people were forcibly removed and when we were redistributing the land, these people were supposed to be resettled in their previous areas.  We are now only blacks, so we need to understand each other.  Let us not use the vicious methods which were used by the whites.

          People have been resettled into these areas for quite some time. These people have been paying some taxes and at times they would pay an amount of about US$1 tax per hectare.  As of now, the taxes have now been raised and it is now US$5 per hectare which is too high for these people.  The most painful thing about this tax is that it is supposed to be paid in retrospect, taking it back from 2009.  Can these people afford that because this tax has accumulated to US$6 000, who can pay that amount?  I have proof that some of these people who were resettled in these areas have since moved out and some of them have sold this land contrary to what the Government said that you should not sell state land.  However, these people are now selling this land because they have these tax arrears, so the only way out is to sell the land.

          Hon. Minister, I plead with you that if you do not rectify this anomaly, there is going to be a friction within the ruling party because the people who were resettled, most of them were resettled on partisan lines and most of them belong to the ruling party. Most of them fought for this land in the liberation struggle and they are aware of the processes they had to undergo for them to take this land from the whites.  May we please as Zimbabweans; work together in the resettlement of people in this land.  There should not be this tribal distribution of land. Please, let it be a just policy.  I plead with the Land Commission when it is sworn, it should go and rectify all these problems.  I thank you.

          HON. NDEBELE: Good Afternoon Hon. Speaker? Thank you very much for this opportunity to add my voice to this motion.  Let me thank the Minister and also allow me to thank the Chairperson of that Portfolio Committee for a comprehensive report. I think it speaks to bravery.  The report is sincere to their cause. 

          Hon. Speaker, matters of productivity, competitiveness and food security are a matter of national security and I think the question of command agriculture clearly attest to this.  The Land question as rightfully pointed out by the Chairperson of that Committee is an emotive question.  This Commission has a mammoth task before it and at times I feel the difficulties may just be too overwhelming. 

          Hon. Minister, while your Committee is looking into land disputes, I wish you could also give it teeth to look into the question of waiting lists.  I am still on the waiting list, I applied for land in 1999 and like any law abiding citizen, I still await my turn to be given land, so if you have got land, here is a sincere question that you must ask yourself that why you and not the next person.  Hon. Speaker, this thing is bothering us in Matabeleland; land has been allocated to superior tribes than the local tribes. This is very true, we may hide behind the finger but this is the only truth that we have to live with no matter how uncomfortable it is. Prime Matabeleland game land has been given to people from elsewhere, where people are making a lot of money every season through hunting quotas. We do not have that. So, the land question in Matabeleland is far from being settled.

Allow to move me to make a quick quotation Hon. Speaker. This is from General Tongogara and I quote “I am dying to see change in the system that is all. I would like to see the young people enjoying together both black and white, enjoying together in a new Zimbabwe. That is all”. I - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Alright, I am coming to you. Where the illustrious General is talking black and white, you may today want to substitute that with the words Zezuru, Manyika, Karanga, Kalanga, Tonga and Ndebele. I will speak for Matabeleland because I come from there. It is a time bomb and this Government is sitting on that time bomb.

We know that every time we speak the uncomfortable truth to this Government, they reply us with a lot of fire. We know how they behave. We know you are in charge of the instruments of physical control but we will still have our say Mr. Speaker. So Hon. Minister, I would like this Commission to be given teeth to revisit the waiting list because I am still on the waiting list. At one point I was told that the resettlement process has come to an end but every morning when I read the newspaper, someone has invaded a fresh Macadamia Farm. If the process is still ongoing, please consider those who are still on the waiting list. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

On that waiting list are disabled ex-combatants, people that brought about this country. Hon. Speaker, let me apply my mind to the independence of this Commission. The Commission as it is currently crafted is a mere desk in the Minister’s office. I wish it could be elevated as earlier said by other Hon. Members to the level of an independent Commission. We know Hon. Speaker and if you ask any young person in this House, the current crop of our leaders are afloat with ‘isms’. That Commission will never work freely. They will be asked kuti chipai nhingi muzukuru wangu.  It is coming from the old leaders and we are tired of that.

Sometimes you will forgive us all the time for praying that all this crop of old leaders that come with ‘isms’, endless of them are elevated to higher service so that we fix Zimbabwe. We are tired. Why should the Commission get policy direction from the Minister? It is therefore an extension of his office and the appointments. The Chairman was right and that is brave. I commend you for that. The appointments are shrouded in a lot of secrecy. What is the fear? Bring them to Parliament and they are interviewed like all other Commissioners. Put their qualifications in the newspapers for the public to review them. Why do we fear each other as Zimbabweans? Lay out their credentials for public scrutiny.

Let me come to the question of corruption over land. I am aware that as per Section 282, traditional leaders are empowered to administer communal land and to protect the environment. This Commission must consult them when allocating land. We respect our traditional leaders, but there is one worrying thing that is flowing down from the Cabinet in true osmotic fashion down to the lower echelons of a leadership to the traditional leaders. It is corruption and it is coming from Cabinet.  His Excellency must be told that some traditional leaders are now corrupt. They are busy selling land out there. They have caught onto the corruption grave train.

So, the Commission must be empowered to deal with that, but if we have staffed the Commission with cadres of the ruling party, it is unfortunate because they will not stand up to these traditional leaders. Let me come to the question of security of tenure. It is absolutely not clear in the crafting of this Bill. What is happening is Minister here and Minister there. Where property rights are not defined, there is absolutely no investment.

Let me quote from Strive Masiiwa. I know that he is not a favourite of the other side of this House. He has applied his mind to the rule of law in terms of aiding investment and I quote. “These days investors have access to decisions made in your country’s courts. During due diligence, they study these judgements carefully. They also study press statements made by those in leadership and talk to other investors who are already investing in your country. No serious investor simply puts up money without looking at the rule of law in a country.”  But, need I say more Mr. Speaker, I am reminded about the whereabouts of Dangote.

I am reminded about the Russian deals that The Herald was singing about. They were practically screaming about them and the merger deals. I do not have to say more regarding this. Those who have ears have heard. They also look at how you treat members of the opposition, your prisoners and issues of whether you deny each other food aid as countrymen. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

Hon. Speaker, let me address myself to the question of partnerships in agriculture. It is commendable to bring in investors but a lot of thought must be put into these partnerships. The Commission must therefore be empowered to investigate partnerships, those people that come in to partner locals. The Commission must preside over those contracts. This Government needs to listen to its people. There is commotion over ARDA in Kezi, Maphisa and all over. ARDA is causing a lot of commotion together with its partner Trek, but this Government does not listen to people. People are demonstrating every day. Demonstrations are taking root in the rural areas because this Government does not listen.

Big corporates are now competing with locals. It is locals that were keeping those irrigation schemes running but Government decides to partner with Trek. You are pushing the same locals away from that piece of land. What percentage of local investment is there? What piece of that cake are locals getting? Minister, if we do not watch over this, if this Commission is not allowed, a lot of corporates will do backward integration. I will not be surprised if next week I am told that Choppies are going into agriculture, I will not be surprised. So, this Commission must be empowered to protect our people on the ground.  Finally Hon. Speaker, let me apply my mind to the question of audits, audits must be sincere.  If this Commission is going to carry out audits, they must be sincere, instead of telling us who owns farm so and so and farm so and so, they must go deeper than that.  We must be told what happened to the functional farms that people were allocated. 

A lot of people were given functional farms but for want of money, they have gone on asset stripping sprees.  There has been a lot of vandalism; there has been a lot of theft of equipment.  If you go to Mbare, you can buy agricultural pipes that have been ripped off functional farms.  Still on that, Minister, that Commission must look into the sizes of land.  In Matabeleland South for instance, I have in mind whites run farm, it is a 2000 hectares farm but 20 families have been placed there.  This used to be a highly productive ranch and dairy farm but how do you return it to its former levels of productivity if you have parceled it into small pieces of land?  Those are dry patches of land.  I thank you.

*HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on Land Commission Bill. The Commission will now have a relook into the land redistribution programme.   I support this Bill, it is a noble one.  My request to the Commission is that, the Land Commissioners must be very careful, especially in the operations, they should be aware that we have opposition parties which are fighting against the success of this programme.  We have had experienced in the past – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. MAWONDERA: On a point or order Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  What is your point or order?

HON. MAWONDERA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Standing Order Number 93, subsection (d), is very clear that members are not allowed to waffle or to use derogatory language.  So, can the member be guided accordingly because he is waffling and using derogatory language.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Member who raised this point of order; please do not take over my Chair.  When the member waffles I will say so myself.  I thank you.

          *HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for the ruling.  I am making this contribution and I have been listening to other members making their contributions on this Bill.  I am requesting the Commissioners who will be in this Commission – I know we have opposition parties who are making contributions in this Bill.  I understand that their introduction is very good but when they come to conclusion they make some remarks which are really destructive, hence I am pleading with them that we were voted into this august House by the people so that we make constructive discussions.  It pains me when a member comes here and starts making destructive comments on such a noble Bill.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, when this land redistribution was introduced, members of the oppositions were saying this is just a political gimmick and they were even denying other people to come and take land saying it is just a political gimmick.  Instead of them appreciating that this was a noble cause they are still criticizing what is happening. As we debate today, we have a problem in that members who used to oppose this Land Redistribution Programme have seen that it was not a political gimmick but it was a reality.  They now want land, hence the misunderstanding which is happening. 

          The other problem which we are facing is that these opposition members misinformed people and said they should not take up the land because when the land is given to them as a political gimmick, this will be taken and given back to the whites.  Now that they have seen that the land programme is irreversible and is a reality; the members from the opposition should go back to the people and apologize, telling them that they misinformed them that the Land Redistribution Programme was a political gimmick.  Now they have seen the beneficiaries benefiting, succeeding and improving their lives. 

          What I am saying is because of the opposition politics, they may end up misinforming or disturbing the operations of the Land Commission.  We know these opposition people, they come and say people who have been allocated land should pay tax for it and the tax should be so high that people feel disgruntled with Government.  On the other hand, they know that the country is under sanctions, hence we need to get money from taxes.  People will fail to pay and when they fail, they will be told that they failed to pay and the land has to be repossessed and those people will suffer. At the end of the day they will blame the Government for this retrogressive approach. 

          Their aim is to misinform the people, as a result the farming programme is going to be disturbed.  Sanctions were called for by members of the opposition; I am pleading and begging with the Land Commissioners that in their operations, they should not associate with retrogressive ideas of the opposition politics.   If you ask for advice from your enemy they will never give you constructive advice but destructive advice.  Now, I will give a good example, these people have said we should pay US$5 per hectare and this comes to US$2 500, if you talk in terms of buying, with that US$2 500 you can buy up to 10 cattle and we all know the way the cattle breed.  You cannot come up with that amount which is needed to pay for the taxes.  When this programme fails, the opposition Members will quickly go to Britain or run to America where there is this new President, Trump and tell him that the African government in Zimbabwe has failed. 

We heard them saying there is talk that some whites whose land was repossessed are now being supported.  They talk as if they hate the whites yet they are their friends.  Now they are saying this new white farmer Mr. Rautenbach is bad.  When I scrutinized his idea, I saw that we were doing it properly and productively with Mr. Rautenbach.  We are not selective or discriminative and even the President has said we do not discriminate against anybody because of race.  If they come wanting to work hand in hand with us, we welcome them.  What we do not want is a white man who will come with a superiority complex. 

Let me explain more on the operations of Mr. Rautenbach.  He is subcontracting the small scale farmer so that they benefit from his programme.  We will never take the land back to the whites.  The Land Commission should seek advice from constructive people and not from the opposition.  I beg you Minister that after these debates and the Hansard has been published, to please take the Hansards to the members of the Land Commission so that they know the views of the Parliamentarians regarding this Land Commission.  I thank you.

*HON. MARUMAHOKO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I also want to make my contribution in support of this Land Commission Bill because it is going to lead to productivity and high produce in our agriculture programme.  Let me take you back a little bit regarding this land distribution.  When the war of liberation was at its peak, there was an announcement which was made calling for peace talks at Lancaster House in Britain.  The parties that were invited to Lancaster peace talks included the Rhodesian Front, which was representing the whites, ZAPU which was led by the late Cde J. N. Nkomo and ZANU led by the current President, Cde R. G Mugabe, which were representing the armies which were fighting the war. 

When they met at Lancaster House they agreed that there was suffering in Zimbabwe hence the need for the peace talks.  The steps which were put on the agenda on how Zimbabwe could be independent were based on land redistribution and a one man one vote.  The issue regarding land redistribution was so contentious to the extent that it brought the talks to a deadlock.  People even threatened to go back to the bush and continue with the war.  It took the persuasion of Cde. Samora Machel, the then President of Mozambique to persuade the protagonists to continue with the peace talks. 

Cde Mugabe and Cde Nkomo wanted the land to be given to the people hence the saying “son of the soil and daughter of the soil”.  This brought us to a situation where the Britons conceded that when the country was liberated, they would buy farms which would then be redistributed to the black people of Zimbabwe.  This was going to be on a willing buyer, willing seller basis.  When they scrutinized that method they discovered that the willing farmer would be the one who would be in the arid land and hence the programme would fail.

It was with the persuasion of Cde. Samora Machel that ZAPU and ZANU continued with the peace talks.  Their argument was that if land was not returned to the indigenous people of Zimbabwe, the war would have been fought in vain.  They were looking at the war of liberation in retrospect from the war of liberation fought by Mbuya Nehanda to the Second Chimurenga where people had to go to Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and all those other countries which gave assistance during the war of liberation.  Hon. Members, when we talk of land redistribution we are talking of the lives of the indigenous people of Zimbabwe.

Cde Mudarikwa, in his contribution said that if you do not have land you do not have an identity.  In other words, you lack dignity and we had come to an extent where the indigenous people of Zimbabwe lacked dignity because they did not have land.  Now that land has been given to the indigenous people, it means we have fought and won the war of liberation since land was redistributed in the year 2000 and is still ongoing. 

Hon. Minister, you brought this Bill so that you can empower the Land Commission to enable it to follow productive and highly technical ways in its operations.  We support the fact that Zimbabwe is a country which has an agro-based economy.  Immediately after the war of liberation, we started working on productively developing Zimbabwe and we have now been fighting the land redistribution programme.  So what we should be concentrating on is looking at the proper methodologies and full support of the farming programme to enable us to have a bumper harvest and return the bread-basket status of Zimbabwe.  My advice to you is that you have been given a chance to redeem Zimbabwe from the clutches of poverty and when you are fighting a war, you fight for whatever it is that you want.  After the war, you then look for ways of solving the problems that led to that war.

I think from all the contributions made, regardless of political affiliation, everyone said they want land.  Let us however bear in mind that land is a finite resource with no elasticity features.  So, when we are discussing the land redistribution programme, we should be cognisant of the fact that Zimbabwe will never expand.  The only expansion in Zimbabwe will come in the form of the population which may explode to 20 million or even 30 million people. 

          During this land redistribution programme, we have heard some people talking of allocating land to all the youths in this country but let me state this fact that the youths are with us until eternity as long as we still have men and women enjoying their conjugal rights.  What I am saying is that we should not allocate land based on youths because as I stated, Zimbabwe will never expand. 

          My advice is that we should craft new rules and regulations on the use of the available pieces of land so that future generations will benefit from the land of their forefathers.  When the land redistribution programme was launched, it was a noble idea but was done in a haphazard and haste manner, which created problems on the land use.  We now should be taking steps of correcting these problems by taking a stance that farming is a business venture and not leisure.  Farming needs careful planning and proper investment so that there is economic development at the end. 

          When the Land Reform Programme was launched, we had two groups of people who needed land and during that programme, land was allocated to people who wanted it.  People were not asked about their places of origin but were allocated land according to its availability hence, the development of the two groups I stated above.  On the one hand, we had retirees who wanted a villagisation model where they could embark on subsistence farming.  The other group was made up of commercial farming oriented individuals.  These two groups have different and conflicting interests.

          When these people are neighbours, where the commercial farmer grows wheat, which is a winter crop, the subsistence farmer believes in letting the cattle roam at will.  The result is that the cattle will stray into the wheat field and destroy the crop and the subsistence farmer sees no problem in that but encourages the commercial farmer to fence off his field.  On the contrary, when the field has been fenced, the subsistence farmer will cut off that fence for other uses hence the conflict I mentioned and these two farmers should be separated into their respective groups. 

          The other anomaly which has to be corrected is communal ownership of facilities such as tobacco barns.  There are instances where 20 farmers share the same barn for curing tobacco.  This has created a lot of misunderstandings and fights amongst the farmers.  The other sign that there are conflicts of interest is the multiplicity of veld fires and this can only be corrected by allocating land to farmers with the same orientation and focus.  These fires have led to desertification at an alarming rate. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I advise the responsible Minister to encourage farmers to use alternative curing methods such as electricity or coal instead of firewood.  Commercial farmers use electricity in curing tobacco and in the process, they conserve their forests, which are then vandalized by farmers who use wood in curing tobacco and there is conflict of interest and fights over this resource.

          Hon. Minister, I will now turn to the 99 year lease, which is a programme introduced by the whites between 1950 and 1960 during the construction of the Highfield suburb in Harare for the accommodation of blacks.  My advice to the Land Commission is that this 99 year lease should be a bankable document so that it gives confidence of tenure to the family.  The current offer letters have a clause which states that the residents are at the whims and will of the Minister who may evict them any time he feels he needs use of that land.  Faced with such a scenario, farmers are not productive.  They lack the necessary security of tenure and feel they may lose out because they can be evicted at any time.  On the other hand, 99 year leases lead to development but whereas nobody lives for 99 years, the family can continue progressing on the piece of land depending on the 99 year lease. 

          Hon. Minister, I will now turn to the point of payment for the land which was acquired by the Government.  It was stated that Government does not pay for the land but only for developments on that land. In some instances, the infrastructure has since been destroyed by the new tenants but Government is still required to pay for that infrastructure because it was destroyed by the tenants.  I therefore advise these new farmers to work hard and benefit both financially and developmentally so that Government can receive taxes from them to pay for the land acquired. 

Of late, our Government has been blamed for not compensating the farmers whose land was taken by Government to distribute it to the landless blacks.  We know that Zimbabwe is a land which believes in law and order and protection of property rights, which can only be upheld by developmental farming, payment of taxes and rates leading to the compensation of white farmers.

I am advocating that the Land Commission Bill be empowered to have prosecution powers and should not be overridden by any responsible Ministers.  This Commission should not be used by the Minister as a political laptop but should be a people’s desktop; not a Minister’s lapdog but a people’s watch dog.  This will enable the new farmers to be productive because historically, we have heard people saying whites were doing the farming and yet in actual fact, they were armchair and distance farmers.  The only farmers who were on the ground were the blacks who were given the land. I support the Bill and I thank you Mr. Speaker. 

THE MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to thank Hon. Members for their valuable contributions, I really wish we could continue debating. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA), the House adjourned at Eleven Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016.    

 

 

National Assembly Hansard Vol. 43 National Assembly Hansard 17 November 2016 Vol 43 no 13