A Zimbabwean legislator has called on the government to empower women in terms of land ownership and says the new Land Commission Bill should stop politicians from using land as a campaign tool.
Fanny Chirisa said she felt that one of the reasons why women were not benefitting from the land reform programme was that politicians were using land as a bait to get votes at the end of their term.
“I think the Bill should stop politicians from using land as campaign tool. Hon. Nduna this other day mentioned that if the husband passes on, the wife should be given 50% of the property. It should not be 50% following the husband’s death but it this should be done when both spouses are still alive,” she said in her contribution to the debate on the Land Commission Bill.
HON. CHIRISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would want to thank the Minister for the Land Commission Bill. My first comment is on the name given to the commission, which is an executive commission and is very different from the other independent commissions. I guess this is in line with Section 297 of the Constitution, if I am not wrong. My fear now is that as an executive commission, they will be responsible to the Minister and also all written policies coming from the Minister should be implemented by the executive commission because it is not an independent commission.
My second point Mr. Speaker Sir, is that the Bill is not clear on the issue of conflicts and interests. Under Clause 6(5), it says “the Commission is given that discretion to act on conflicts of interest,” on Clause 13(2), it goes on to say it will be a crime for a member to participate in an audit, investigation or any other issue while aware that he or she is conflicted. It is also not clear on the issue of the powers vis-à-vis the independence of the executive because the Minister on the other hand is giving directives. I think it should be clear on that issue too.
On Clause 35(2), the land-holder can appeal to the Minister, at the same time that Minister who makes a decision on that appeal is the same Minister that the farmer will appeal to at the next stage. I think this need to be looked into again on Clause 35(2). The Bill does not include changes to the Land Acquisition Act. The provision regarding compensation should be clear.
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