Govt urged to address land imbalances

President Mnangagwa

By Nqobani Ndlovu

A JUDICIAL and land commission must be set up to address systematic land imbalances in Matabeleland, former Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo said.

Moyo, in his reaction to a meeting between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and civic groups under the banner Matabeleland Collective, said institutionalised marginalisation of the region must be addressed.

During the meeting, Mnangagwa promised to facilitate the issuance of identity documents for Gukurahundi victims, but Moyo said this was not enough as people from the region continue facing systematic marginalisation.

“What is often referred to as the Matabeleland crisis is, by all accounts, a national problem, and needs a comprehensive national programme that will specifically address the imbalances, inequalities and other grievances that currently exist in the country,” said Moyo, who is also president of the opposition United Movement for Devolution.

“What makes it a national concern is the fact that the discontented and radicalised Matabeleland region will tremendously impact on the health of the entire nation,” Moyo said.

“Equally, the underdevelopment and political marginalisation that obtains in Matabeleland is a consequence of tribalistic policies implemented by the Zanu PF government over the past 40 years.

Zanu PF has always denied marginalising the Matabeleland region, but critics argue the ruling Zanu PF party was not sincere when dealing with problems in the southern region, citing its slow pace in implementing devolution of power as espoused in the Constitution.

“The government, together with the Parliament, Judicial Service Commission and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission must spearhead the processes that seek to redress Matabeleland challenges,” Moyo added.

“The following proposed thematic commissions must be established to investigate and make recommendations, namely the judicial commission of inquiry into Matabeleland disturbances of the 1980s and land commission to look into the land redistribution programme in Matabeleland.”

He said an economic and empowerment commission should also be established to look into possible disempowerment of the local communities.

An equality and social justice commission, he said, should look into possible marginalisation of the people of Matabeleland.

“It is our humble submission that the proposed commissions must be established in terms of an Act of Parliament in order to give them legal powers to effectively and efficiently execute their mandate.”