MP warns that giving land to outsiders at the expense of locals could spark a vicious tribal war


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A Bulawayo legislator says locals must be given preference when the government redistributes land because there is going to be a vicious tribal war when the next generation realises that their land was allocated to “foreigners”.

Godfrey Malaba seemed to be buying into the idea first expressed by Musikavanhu Member of Parliament Prosper Mutseyami who said land for the Ndau must be given to the Ndau and not to Zezurus from Mashonaland East.

Malaba is a member of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front while Mutseyami belongs to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Lilian Zemura of ZANU-PF says Zimbabweans should be free to settle wherever they want because the land belongs to them.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very painful that people come into your home area where you grew up, you do not benefit and yet the people of that area were supposed to benefit since it is their area which had been taken. As a result, the indigenous people of that area had to buy farm produce from those people who were resettled,” Malaba said during his contribution to the Land Commission Bill. 

“I am saying this because in future, there is going to be a tribal war whereby our grandchildren will be asking why we have foreigners settling into our area.  It is going to be a vicious tribal war and these people who were allocated land at the expense of the supposed beneficiaries are indigenous people in that area.”

Full contribution:

*HON MALABA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I would like to make my contribution on what has been said regarding the Land Commission.  I am very grateful because the Minister is introducing the Land Commission which is going to look into all the problems affecting the Land Commission and on how land was distributed.  It is our wish that when the Commission is processing these documents, they should look at some of the problems and anomalies which were faced during the land redistribution.

I recall, there are some places where people where improperly resettled and we also have some people coming from other regions and settled into other people’s regions whereby the indigenous people of that area did not benefit.  On the contrary, those people would have benefited in the other areas, also benefited in their home areas and benefited again.  When the farms were taken over by Government, we realised that the resettlement was not implemented as had been suggested.

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Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very painful that people come into your home area where you grew up, you do not benefit and yet the people of that area were supposed to benefit since it is their area which had been taken. As a result, the indigenous people of that area had to buy farm produce from those people who were resettled.  I am saying this because in future, there is going to be a tribal war whereby our grandchildren will be asking why we have foreigners settling into our area.  It is going to be a vicious tribal war and these people who were allocated land at the expense of the supposed beneficiaries are indigenous people in that area.  In like manner, when land was redistributed to the people, they were a lot of mistakes which were carried out and some of them were corruptly given this land.  We had some people who had to sell their properties so that they could acquire that land.

I have an example of Badminton Farm in Matabeleland North.  People in that area were allocated that land using the powers given by Chief Deli.  It is now 10 years since they have been settled on that area but as I speak now, those people had been viciously evicted from that land.  I am saying viciously because their property was burnt down and forcefully removed.  As I speak now, their domestic animals have turned to wild animals because these people ran away and left them.  So, that is why I am begging that this Commission should make a follow up on how this land was re-distributed.  If it was corruptly redistributed, that problem should be solved because it creates problems in the future.      I personally know that you are aware of the problem I am stating because it was brought to you.

We also talked about the land issue in this country, we came to the extent of taking up arms to fight for this land viciously and we have found that it is painful and very difficult to be faced by a problem which you cannot solve.  I was born in Matobo in Nkezi but grew up in Tsholotsho simply because we were evicted from Nkezi to Tsholotsho.  My grandmother was taken to Jotsholo where they were resettled forcibly by the whites.  That place had arid land, you could not farm anything and not only that, and you would be living side by side with wild animals.  One cannot core-exist with wild animals because whatever it is that you grow, the animals will come and fight you and invade or stray into your fields.  We are not supposed to torment the people who were the indigenous people in that area.  We need to correct these problems, people were forcibly removed and when we were redistributing the land, these people were supposed to be resettled in their previous areas.  We are now only blacks, so we need to understand each other.  Let us not use the vicious methods which were used by the whites.

People have been resettled into these areas for quite some time. These people have been paying some taxes and at times they would pay an amount of about US$1 tax per hectare.  As of now, the taxes have now been raised and it is now US$5 per hectare which is too high for these people.  The most painful thing about this tax is that it is supposed to be paid in retrospect, taking it back from 2009.  Can these people afford that because this tax has accumulated to US$6 000, who can pay that amount?  I have proof that some of these people who were resettled in these areas have since moved out and some of them have sold this land contrary to what the Government said that you should not sell state land.  However, these people are now selling this land because they have these tax arrears, so the only way out is to sell the land.

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Hon. Minister, I plead with you that if you do not rectify this anomaly, there is going to be a friction within the ruling party because the people who were resettled, most of them were resettled on partisan lines and most of them belong to the ruling party. Most of them fought for this land in the liberation struggle and they are aware of the processes they had to undergo for them to take this land from the whites.  May we please as Zimbabweans; work together in the resettlement of people in this land.  There should not be this tribal distribution of land. Please, let it be a just policy.  I plead with the Land Commission when it is sworn, it should go and rectify all these problems.  I thank you.

(45 VIEWS)

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The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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