GNU agrees on land commission

bob_tsvangiHARARE Zimbabwes coalition partners have finally agreed to set up
an independent commission to review President Robert Mugabes
controversial land reform programme and ensure equitable and
transparent distribution of land. (Pictured: Robert Mugabe & Morgan Tsvangirai)

According to leaked minutes of a meeting held by Mugabe, Prime

Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara

on June 8, the three principals to Zimbabwes coalition government

agreed to appoint an inclusive Land Audit Commission whose main

function would be to oversee the implementation of a much-awaited

audit of the decade-long land reform exercise.

The establishment of an independent Land Commission was one of the

proposals made by Tsvangirais MDC-T party in April as part of efforts

to tackle the countrys divisive land question.

The MDC-T, which last year formed a coalition government with Mugabes

Zanu (PF), said a land and environment commission established by an

Act of Parliament should implement fresh and equitable land reforms

meant to ensure there is non-discriminatory access to the countrys

natural resources and environmental sites by the people of Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirais party said the commission should comprise five to seven

people appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate.

The commissions key functions would be to uphold the principles of

equitable, transparent and justifiable distribution of land and to

advise the government and Parliament on all issues relating to the

tenure, distribution and use of land and to ensure the orderly

development and management of the natural environment for the benefit

of present and future generations.

Land remains a divisive issue in Zimbabwe after Mugabe over the past

decade drove most of the countrys about 4 500 large-scale white

landowners off their farms which he went on to parcel out to blacks in

a chaotic and often violent land reform programme that destroyed

commercial agriculture to leave the country facing food shortages.

Critics say Mugabes cronies and not ordinary black peasants

benefited the most from the land reforms, with many ending up with up

to six farms each against the governments publicly stated

one-man-one-farm policy.

Mugabe has admitted mistakes in his land reforms but has often

rejected calls by the MDC-T for a review of the land redistribution

programme, saying those behind the calls want to return expropriated

farms to their white former owners.

The 2008 political agreement between the MDC-T and Zanu (PF) that led

to formation of the Harare power-sharing government calls for a land

audit to establish who owns which land in Zimbabwe in order to

eliminate multiple land owners.

But the audit has failed to take off because of a shortage of funds

and resistance from senior Zanu (PF) officials who are multiple farm


Zanu (PF) hardliners and members of the pro-Mugabe security forces

have also continued seizing more land from the few remaining white

farmers in breach of the inter-party political agreement as well as a

ruling by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal

that called for an end to farm seizures.

Mugabe, who wields the most power in the unity government with

Tsvangirai, has said Zimbabwe will not abide by the Tribunal ruling

despite Harare being required to do so under the SADC Treaty.

In an apparent attempt to depoliticise the land question, the MDC-T

said an independent commission would be given powers to administer

legislation pertaining to land.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *