The MDC-T will not remove people resettled under the land reform programme if it wins the next elections but would introduce a land tax to discourage multiple farm owners and those holding on to the resource without using it, an official has said.
Njabuliso Mguni, the former Member of the House of Assembly for Lupane East and now member of the MDC-T Lupane district executive, was responding to a question from the audience at a rally at Daluka in Lupane at the weekend.
One of the party supporters had pointed out that when trying to mobilise support for the MDC- T, people wanted to know what the party’s position was as far as the land issue was concerned, as some feared that they would be removed from the farms once the party won the mandate to rule the
“No one will be removed from the farms otherwise there will be another Chimurenga,” said Mguni in response.
“However, as MDC-T we are against multiple farm ownership and we don’t want a situation where someone holds on to land without using it. We have a lot of cases like that. That land is not a status symbol, it is meant for production.”
He said the MDC-T proposed the introduction of a land tax that would penalise farmers underutilising land.
“We want to tax those with multiple farms and if they are doing nothing on the land they will be forced to give up the land because of the taxes,” said Mguni amid applause.
The Zanu PF government introduced the fast-track land resettlement programme in 2000. The party said the programme was necessary to correct the imbalances in land ownership. Critics say it was done in a haphazard manner and along partisan lines.
As its campaign message for more than a decade now, Zanu PF has been accusing the MDC-T of wanting to reverse the land reform programme. The rally was part of a series in Lupane East to celebrate the Supreme Court ruling ordering President Mugabe to proclaim dates for by-elections in the constituency as well as in Bulilima East and Nkayi South.
The ex-MPs in the constituencies, Mguni, Norman Mpofu and Abednico Bhebhe, were expelled by their former party — the MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube — leaving their parliamentary seats vacant.