14 May 2013

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Also Want Land

A senior MDC-T official wants his party's supporters to benefit from the land reform programme saying they now realise its irreversibility.

The request by Chikomo Senator Morgan Femai is a major climbdown by the party that has in the past criticised land reforms that saw thousands of black families benefit.

Sen Femai complained to Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Herbert Murerwa during a question and answer session in the House last week that some people got vast pieces of land during land reform, leaving those aligned to the MDC-T with no land.

This is despite the fact that the party discouraged its supporters from taking up land during the programme, saying they would hand the land back to white farmers in they event they attained power.

"What are they going to do because some of us do not have any land?' he said.

"My question is that, what is the Minister going to do or what is in the pipeline so that every Zimbabwean would own at least a minimum of 500 hectares so that the land would be adequate?"

Minister Murerwa said he was heartened to learn that the MDC-T now supported the land reform programme.

"I am pleased that our Honourable colleagues from the other side fully support the land reform programme," he said.

"I just want to assure the senator that land is being allocated on a non-partisan basis.

"When it is available, those who apply will be considered on a non-partisan basis. The issue is not so much on the hectarage that one is given, but the viability of the size of land that one gets.

"I share his concern that land is not going to be enough for distribution around the country and whatever is there should be shared equally among those who deserve it."

Minister Murerwa said the land audit that was supposed to be undertaken as provided for by the Global Political Agreement could not start because of lack of funds.

"This was going to help in determining the land available, the number of people on the land and how those people could be assisted to ensure viability," he said.

Responding to another question, Minister Murerwa said it was critical that people allocated land would not master the art of farming overnight just as it took settlers several years.

Bikita Senator Kokerai Rugara had asked if the Government would take a deliberate effort to train present and future farmers.

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