Residents castigate partisan distribution of farming inputs

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GWERU residents have blamed partisan distribution of farming inputs for contributing to the current food shortages, saying most beneficiaries of the government’s inputs scheme were not genuine farmers.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Speaking at the ongoing public hearings on the Land Commission Bill yesterday, participants also claimed that some farmers were being pushed out of their allocated plots by ruling Zanu PF officials.

A farmer from Lower Gweru, Bheki Mpala, said the Land Commission must immediately institute a land audit to find out if people who benefitted from the land reform programme were genuine farmers.

“Some people were allocated land simply because they could chant political party slogans, and these are also used for one to get allocated inputs,” Mpala said.

“As long as land and farm implements are allocated in a partisan manner we will never succeed as a country and we will continue importing maize from other countries,” he said.

Mpala’s contribution almost caused an uproar as Zanu PF supporters defended the land reform programme, saying the issue of the liberation struggle and politics cannot be ignored.

Remnant Ndlovu of Ward 30 said Zanu PF youths were causing havoc, ignoring traditional chiefs in the allocation of land, and displacing people who had been resettled for years using intimidation and threats.

“They came with offer letters, threatened and told us chiefs that we have no powers. They also converted farm land into stands. What pains us most is that they are doing wrong things and resettling people at wetlands and mountainous places, resulting in severe land degradation,” Ndlovu said, adding Mbembeswane River was fast silting.

Some farmers claimed they were removed forcefully from their land by State security agents carrying suspicious land offer letters.

Women who contributed said the commission should look at issues of registration of land and ensure that when land is allocated all family members including the wife and children must be written down so that they benefit in the event of death of the father.

“There is no production when you know you are lodging, or are occupying land in dispute. If farmers have lease agreements at least there is security,” Robert Mayo of Vungu Ward 15 said.
Other issues raised were of vandalism of equipment at other people’s farms.

Alice Mawuto, a representative of people living with disabilities said the disabled and people with the condition of albinism were being ignored in land allocations.

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