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
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