Zanu PF youth league secretary Kudzanai Chipanga has controversially called for a total seizure of all remaining white-owned farms to resettle the ruling party’s youths.
Curiously, his call is on the back of Lands and Rural Resettlement ministry commissioning a survey to ascertain land use following concerns that most resettled farms are grossly under-utilised.
Speaking at a Zanu PF rally in Norton on Thursday — ahead of the constituency’s October 22 by-election — the Zanu PF politburo member said “play time between whites and blacks was over”.
“Tatamba zvakwana nevarungu dai taita kuti mapurazi avo achienda kuma youth (We have tolerated white farm owners long enough, it’s time their farm land goes to youths),” Chipanga told gathered Zanu PF supporters at the rally, where Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko was also present.
He went on to say “vice president (Mphoko), the youth are also thankful for the land for stands which is being given by President Robert Mugabe”.
The league has been parcelling out State land to Zanu PF youths, with 5 000 residential stands distributed in Norton through Saviour Kasukuwere’s Local Government ministry.
“Here in Norton, the Local Government ministry will on Saturday begin its processes of pegging stands for youths asi zvinhu zvacho zvinenge . . . zviri kunonoka (the process is delaying),” Chipanga said.
“So we are saying to…Kasukuwere, by the time you come to peg stands, you will see us already occupying that land,” he added.
Chipanga’s push for fresh farm invasions comes as Zimbabwe’s economic demise is believed to have been triggered by the land grabs by war veterans in the late 1990s.
Early this year, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe warned against continued land invasions, saying they were affecting agricultural production and increasing the country’s risk profile.
Central bank governor John Mangudya said bringing finality to the land reform programme would go a long way in addressing uncertainties that continue to adversely affect the agricultural sector from transforming the economy.
Last week, Lands and Rural Resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora told church leaders in Norton that his ministry had set up teams to assess resettled farms, with the view of re-distributing underutilised land.
Adding that first priority for land distribution would be given to youths, insisting that the older generation have had their share since the commencement of the land reform programme.
He also warned land owners that government had the right to repossess land, where it sees fit.
“The Constitution says all agricultural land is vested in the president . . .You may have a tenure document it could be an offer letter, a lease or a title deed it tells you how to use the land but that doesn’t give you total rights over the land,” Mombeshora said.
“If there is development that needs to be done, even if it’s a church, government can say it wants it removed. All you can do is discuss compensation. But if you feel your rights have been infringed, you can go to the court but . . . ultimately ukarwisana nehurumende ndiwe unoruza (if you fight government you are bound to lose).”