Matiza breathes fire . . . as Mombeshora hands over 400 land permits

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Minister of State for Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs, Joel Biggie Matiza, has warned Zanu PF against being influenced by ruling party bigwigs to undergo a new wave of farm invasion in the province.

by Jairos Saunyama

Speaking to thousands of people during the handover ceremony of 400 A1 permits to newly-resettled farmers held at Carolina Farm outside Marondera, Matiza vowed that any farm invaders in the province would be arrested and jailed.

Matiza’s utterances came after a few party youths waved placards accusing the minister of not being fair in the land distribution exercise.

The demonstration was held during a Zanu PF inter-district meeting in Marondera and was attended by party national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.

The youths threatened to invade the remaining white-owned farms in the province in protest.

“The allocation of land is done through the minutes submitted from the Districts Land Committee to the Provincial Lands Committee. We shall adhere to the laws and processes that are laid down,” Matiza said.

“Land distribution is not a one-day process. The process involves identification of land, survey, mapping and pegging. In the case of areas occupied by white farmers, a notice period of 90 days is required in terms of law. This is then followed by a provincial lands committee to allocate land.”

He added: “Do not send people with placards trying to instil fear in me. This is clear, land is given clearly. If you apply for it, you get it. We need order, I warn the youths who are being influenced by some people that if they do land invasions, they will be arrested. I am the governor and I will listen to people’s needs.”

Since his appointment following the conclusion of the emotive Zanu PF congress late last year and the subsequent Cabinet shake-up, Matiza embarked on a whirlwind accelerated land redistribution.

But his rivals eying eyeing top Zanu PF positions in the province alleged Matiza’s actions were a campaign gimmick.

Matiza, who is currently embroiled in a nasty fight with Zanu PF interim provincial chairperson Aeneas Chigwedere over the post, said rogue youths should understand that farm invasion were a thing of the past.

“Land invasions that occurred in 2000 ceased and now we observe the rule of law. The government took cognisance of the need to redistribute the land after the land invasions initiated by the Svosve people,” he said.

“The government now has a fully fledged ministry, and a systematic mechanism to ensure that land is distributed to all, in terms of the governing laws of the country. I want to warn misguided elements that are bent on causing mayhem in the province by spearheading land invasions in the province that the long arm of law will soon catch up with them.”

Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora handed over 400 A1 farm permits to farmers drawn from the province’s nine districts.