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By Joseph Madzimure
PROVINCES are ready to implement Government’s directive to avail 15 000 hectares of farmland to war veterans.
The development comes after Government ordered eight provincial ministers to identify and reserve underutilised land for the exercise, which is in fulfilment of the 20 percent quota policy aimed at ensuring that war veterans are empowered.
The War Veterans Act and the Ex-Detainees Act are being realigned with the Constitution as part of an ongoing programme of empowering war veterans while a policy stipulating that 20 percent of every piece of land acquired by Government for redistribution is reserved for war veterans is being enforced.
Responding to the latest development, Minister of State for Mashonaland East Apollonia Munzverengi confirmed receiving a letter from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to identify underutilised land for war veterans.
“I am currently working on identifying suitable land for the veterans of the liberation struggle. So far we have identified a reasonable hectarage for the war veterans in the province. We want to ensure they get fertile land close to water bodies. We can’t allocate them land at terrain areas. We need to respect them.
“It’s difficult to get 500 to 1 000 hectares of land right now, but as time progresses we will identify the required and suitable hectarage. We are seriously looking into the matter to ensure the combatants get enough land,” she said.
Minister of State for Matabeleland North Richard Moyo echoed similar sentiments saying they are waiting for the completion of the land audit which is currently underway.
“Yes, we have received the letter, but we are waiting for the audit report so that we can identify the required hectares as per Government’s request. We have been tasked to identify 3 000 hectares of land for the war veterans,” said Minister Moyo.
Midlands Provincial Minister Larry Mavima also confirmed receipt of the letter.
Manicaland’s Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba commended the move saying they had already identified the land to allocate war veterans.
“We are gladly complying with the stance and in full support of the Government’s position to give war veterans land. The main reason we went to war was land and war veterans should be the top priority. It was a serious oversight on the part of Government not to give them land. As Manicaland province we have already identified several pieces of land and are gladly going to comply with the Government’s position,” she said.
Minister of State for Matabeleland South Abedinico Ncube said they working on identifying the required land.
“We are busy working on that,” said Minister Ncube.
President Mnangagwa is on record as saying the Government would also embark on a downsizing programme that would enable more people to get land.
“Those that have multiple farms, we are going to repossess that land and redistribute it. We have started doing so. We are also going to be downsizing farms that exceed the recommended sizes. We want fairness in the distribution of land. We want our farmers to be productive,” said President Mnangagwa.
Source : The Herald