THE Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) says it has investigated 25 of the 62 reports of land disputes it received last year, with Masvingo and Mashonaland West provinces registering the highest number of land quarrels.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The commission, in its 2016 annual report recently tabled recently in Parliament, said it was yet to finalise the 25 cases it had investigated so far.
“During the period under review, the ZLC received 62 disputes from eight provinces, with Masvingo and Mashonaland West registering the highest number of disputes of 13 each, and the province with the least number of disputes received was Midlands with three,” part of the report read.
“Twenty-five disputes and complaints combined were investigated, and we are in the process of finalising determinations on each of the disputes and complaints.”
ZLC said the disputes were mainly centred on land ownership, double allocations, sharing of farm infrastructure, illegal settlers, boundary disputes, ownership of land upon divorce and inheritance, settlement by persons on grazing land, conflict over shrines and cultural areas, and disputes between former farm owners and newly-resettled farmers.
“The complaints varied from unfairness in the land allocation system, procedural and unreasonable withdrawal of offer letters, alleged corruption by officials in the land allocation structures, unfair and procedural farm re-plans to lastly the illegal selling of State land,” the report said.
ZLC was formed in 2013 when the new Constitution was enacted and some of its functions include ensuring accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of agricultural land, conducting periodic land audits, and dealing with issues of land usage and the size of agricultural land, among many other functions.
Meanwhile, the Land Commission Bill is still at the Committee Reading Stage in the Senate after chiefs stalled its passage, with Chiefs’ Council president, Fortune Charumbira demanding that traditional leaders be allowed to parcel out agricultural land.
Chief Charumbira raised the issues after the Parliamentary Legal Committee had issued an adverse report on the Land Commission Bill, stating that chiefs have no jurisdiction over agricultural land, although they have control over communal land.