THE Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) is saddened by the untimely passing of human rights stalwart, Dr Alex Magaisa on June 5, 2022.
The Forum joins the entire human rights community in mourning the loss of an affable, fearless and indefatigable defender of the oppressed and voiceless.
Magaisa was a friend of the Forum. He leaves an indelible mark on the country’s transformative constitutionalism endeavour with arguably his most influential role to date — as a core member of a technical drafting team advising the Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee, which drafted a new Constitution to repeal and replace the Lancaster House Constitution.
He will be remembered among the brilliant minds who produced a draft which was approved by more than half of the six million people eligible to vote in the country at the time in a nationwide referendum held on 16 March 2013.
His appointment by then Prime Minister and now late Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai as his adviser, by which he made his maiden foray on the political front, is an irrefutable affirmation of his stellar thought leadership.
Throughout his well-decorated professional career, Magaisa was a proponent of the promotion and strengthening of the principle of democracy in Zimbabwe as a means of ensuring the enhancement, efficacy and long-term survival of Zimbabwe’s nascent constitutional dispensation.
A fierce critic of corrupt rule and cognate practices, both in Zimbabwe and other developing nations, he was a true embodiment of what speaking truth to power — even at the highest echelons of raw executive power, really is.
It is in this spirit that the Forum mourns the sad loss of an unwavering champion for the voiceless.
Known for his rich legal, social and political commentary, Magaisa leaves behind a void that will be extremely difficult to fill.
The Forum extends heartfelt condolences to the Magaisa family, his close friends, co-workers, students — past and present, and to the entire human rights fraternity for such a great loss.
In his name and to his memory, we will continue to advance the causes of constitutionalism, human rights and good governance.-Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
No apologies for reclaiming our land
FOLLOWING a scathing editorial opinion in the NewsDay edition of Wednesday June 8, 2022, it is my constitutional right to respond and set the record straight.
The deliberate attempt to twist my statement in NewsDay is deplorable, malicious and a hopeless attempt to soil a national programme (land reclamation exercise) which was at the heart of our liberation war.
That war was not fought along partisan lines and Zanu PF has always been clear about that. Nor was the land reform programme.
Still, there are parties which have always opposed Zanu PF’s people-centred programmes to protect apartheid-style white privileges. It has been their prayer that the popular land reform programme fails, so other countries in the region are discouraged.
But government has come in with the needed resources to help our resettled new farmers as they slowly master the art of farming.
It must be noted that there are thousands of people from across the political divide applying for land and being allocated without anybody asking them about their political affiliation or party membership cards.
Thousands of those who used to oppose the land reform have since realised that they were misled by their leaders who told them land reclamation was an election gimmick by Zanu PF.
Fortunately, they can now see for themselves that there is no going back on this national heritage, which has been entrenched in our national Constitution.
It is unfortunate that at this late hour, NewsDay wants to create the false narrative that land reform was partisan and intended for party supporters only.
Let me restate that those who benefited from land reform as a national heritage have a sacred duty to defend the land reform programme to the hilt.
Surely, one cannot benefit from land reform and then support a political party which vehemently opposes the same programme. That is a dangerously divided loyalty over a strategic resource such as our land.
It must be noted that the Zanu PF government did not fund the newly-resettled farmers on the basis of party affiliation; they were the ones on the land after the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC decided to side with white former farmers to the extent of calling for sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Land reform is not and was never intended to be a partisan project; it was and remains a national patriotic fight to end colonial economic domination by aliens from Western countries.
Land was initially not allocated, it was occupied by Zimbabweans who needed it, especially those families that were displaced by the notorious Land Apportionment Act of the 1930s.
It is a fact that opposition parties in this country, led by MDC, called our land reform programme illegal, ignoring the fact that it was at the heart of the liberation war of the 1970s.
The liberation war was about land and then one man one vote. We fought the war to reverse the illegal expropriation of our land.
It then became necessary to bring a semblance of order once the major reclamation project was achieved.
That is precisely how government, led by Zanu PF, started issuing out offer letters and other ancillary documents so that people could begin serious work.
That programme needed a lot of resources. Banks have been reluctant to support the new farmers. It then became the duty of the government to provide financial resources and equipment.
So as a patriotic Zimbabwean who is also a beneficiary of the land reform programme, I don’t make apologies for reclaiming what is rightfully ours as indigenous Zimbabweans.
- I am writing this letter as a beneficiary of the land reform.
- Kindness Paradza, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services deputy minister, MP and Zanu PF Makonde DCC chairman
Zanu PF must stop harassing resettled farmers
WE condemn the harassment of resettled farmers by Zanu PF officials who are forcing farmers to attend Zanu PF meetings in various provinces as they continue to lose support in the lead up to the 2023 election.
Farmers are being threatened with the withdrawal of their offer letters and the forced acquisition of their land by the regime if they do no support Zanu PF.
This is a flagrant violation of section 72 of the Constitution, which provides that agricultural land vests in the States.
We reiterate that land is not the property of any political party.
We are aware that Zanu PF is forcing farmers to attend its Cell Day on June 11, 2022 or risk losing their farms.
This is unconstitutional and will be resisted.
The Cell Day itself is a panicked reaction by Zanu PF and a direct response to the citizen-driven Mugwazo campaign in rural areas, which is focused on mass mobilisation for change in rural areas and emphasises the supremacy of the branch in recruitment and political activities.
For the avoidance of doubt, the land reform programme is irreversible.
A citizens’ government will solve the land issue once and for all.
The holding of land will not be left to the whim and fancy of partisan politics or the political mood of the day.
Land allocation and ownership will be taken out of the hands of politicians.
We will give title deeds to all resettled farmers and guarantee security of tenure to all persons allocated agricultural land.
Farmers will be able to borrow against and monetise their land.
In the new Zimbabwe, we will embark upon a smart agrarian reform programme with a special focus on using modern infrastructure , technology and precision solutions in agriculture to ensure improved yields and commercially viable agricultural enterprise.
We will ensure that food security is prioritised and that Zimbabwe’s position as a leading agro-business competitor in the region is restored.
Vote for change.-Fadzayi Mahere, Citizens Coalition for Change SpokePerson