Acting-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has conceded that the land reform programme was done in a chaotic manner and warned that government would soon pounce on multiple farm owners, among them cabinet ministers.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI/BLESSED MHLANGA
Mnangagwa said senior government officials allocated themselves several big farms in contravention of the government’s policy of one person one farm.
Responding to questions raised by members of the public during a constitution outreach programme in Mutare on Friday, Mnangagwa said the land audit was going to expose all the multiple farm owners.
“In 1988 I was switched from being the minister of national security to minister of Justice. I was given a task by President [Robert]Mugabe to craft a law to take our land. That time there was no text- book of taking land,” he said.
“We now have Chapter 16 of agricultural land in our constitution which is meant to address the unjust and unfair pattern of land ownership that was brought by colonialism. Yesterday [Thursday] I met a delegation from the United States who wanted to meet the President, but he was not around. We discussed the issue of land reform and it was said that the land reform was chaotic.”
“I responded by saying that being chaotic was our method. We took this land through chaos. We decided to take the land first, then we can redistribute the land again because we now have it in our hands.”
Mnangagwa, who is also the minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said the on-going land audit was going to expose several senior government official who owned multiple farms.
“We know there are other senior government officials who own multiple farms and there are those who parcelled the land to their relatives, friends and girlfriends. All this is going to be exposed as each individual should own one farm,” he said.
“And also, another thing is that anyone who is found with a farm that is bigger than the required size in a region, that farmer will have his or her land downsized. So I urge those with big and multiple farms not to invest beyond their farm sizes.”
Many top government officials own multiple farms while most ordinary Zimbabweans have failed to get access to land. The likes of the First Family own vast tracts of land in Mazoe and Norton.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa yesterday likened the opposition MDC-T to a “satanic” movement and called on those who voted for the party during the 2013 elections to seek “redemption from the Lord for supping with the devil”.
Addressing thousands of supporters at the launch of the Zanu PF Mbizo constituency by-election campaign, Mnangagwa said the rally was necessitated by the mistakes, failures and miscarriage of leadership in the MDC-T.
He said the by-election provided a second chance for the people of Mbizo to break their partnership with the “devil” and vote for Zanu PF candidate Vongaishe Mupereri.
“This event has been necessitated by the failures, shortcomings and ugliness of the MDC. We have come to cleanse [you of] the sins of the MDC and these sins can only be cleansed by you the people. God is not happy that the MDC has chosen to work with the whites,” said Mnangagwa.
“I am happy that you have come here today to confess to God that you have sinned because of the unholy alliance of moving in the same breath with sinners in the MDC . . . If you are here supporting Zanu PF, your sins have been cleansed.”
He said those in Zanu PF should count themselves lucky and are not cursed like those in the opposition.
But the MDC-T yesterday accused Mnangagwa of being insensitive.
Contacted for comment, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said, “It is very unfortunate that a person who is not only the country’s vice-president but also Justice minister could utter these kinds of irresponsible and inciting statements about a political party that is a lawful and legitimate organisation.
“This is the reason why we have argued that Zanu PF is a threat to national security. It is such kinds of statements that are a direct cause for intolerance and political violence in Zimbabwe,” he said
Mnangagwa also accused Zimbabwe top chrome smelting company and former Mbizo constituency MP Settlement Chikwinya’s employer Zimasco of downsizing and retrenching employees in a bid to prop up the MDC-T.
Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere took the opportunity to hit back at his foes who include war veterans’ secretary general Victor Matemadanda, saying those who criticised his work should know that he was only an agent for top bosses in the party.
“I am a mere messenger of the [party] elders. The things I say and do, I would have been sent. Small people might throw stones but Tyson will not stop because he carries the blessings of the top bosses,” he said facing Matemadanda who sat quietly at the top table.
War veterans recently accused Kasukuwere of seeking to topple President Robert Mugabe. Kasukuwere then responded by calling them small-minded drunkards.
Mupereri will face former Zanu PF strongman Onisimo Zhavairo who will contest as an independent.