Gwanda North Member of Parliament (MP), Madodana Sibanda, has expressed grave concern over grazing land in rural areas being parcelled out as plots by land authorities.
The legislator raised the issue during a recent question and answer session in Parliament.
Illegal land resettlements and double allocations are a common feature in Zimbabwe especially in areas on the outskirts of cities.
“My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement (Perrance Shiri),” said Sibanda.
“There are farms in the rural areas which were meant to be grazing areas but now they are being issued out as plots. That is causing a lot of discord out there. Is there any change of government policy on this issue?”
In his response, Shiri said grazing land was allocated communally especially where A1 farmers were concerned.
“There is no one who is supposed to be settled on grazing land,” said Shiri.
“I am aware we have got some cases whereby there are some overzealous lands officers who go on to allocate land without going through the appropriate land committee. It is mostly at the district level whereby whatever allocation is carried out; it is supposed to be sanctioned by the District Lands Committee.”
Shiri added: “If that information is brought to our attention, we will take corrective measures.”
However, Norton Member of National Assembly, Temba Mliswa, said the issue of illegal settlers had been going on for a long time with politicians at the forefront.
“It is not only land officers who were settling people and very much so it was ZANU PF politicians trying to gunner votes,” said Mliswa.
Responding to that, Shiri said: “Firstly, I am not aware of any ZANU PF officials who have been resettling people outside the normal channels. However, if the honourable member has got evidence to that extent, we will be more than happy to look into the matters.”
The Minister said his ministry had been working with police to flush out illegal settlers. “However, in the process, we have been trying to identify those who are genuinely in need of land and in such cases, we have ensured that we find alternative land for those who are genuinely in need of land but those who want to take advantage are being flushed out.”