MARONDERA - Amid an aura of calculated menace, Joel Biggie Matiza, State minister for Mashonaland East, announced today government's intention to press ahead with plans to seize Zimbabwe's remaining white-owned commercial farms.
“We have invited all the chiefs in the province to this ceremony where we are honouring the chiefs by returning land to the ancestor and rightful custodians," Matiza said.
"In this province, we were protecting the very people who yesteryear were our erstwhile oppressors.”
Chief Chikwizo (Peter Mawonera) receives his offer letter from the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Mash East Joel Biggie Matiza while Chief Fortune Charumbira, Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Douglas Mombeshora and Senator Chief Musarurwa look on. Pic: Annie Mpalume
Matiza was speaking in Marondera during the hand-over of A2 offer letters to 19 of the province’s 33 chiefs.
“This event is going to give a fresh outlook and perception in the way the land reform is going to be conducted in the province," he said.
"Freshly mandated from a cultural perspective, the province will conduct an orderly programme of land allocation. Chiefs, youths, war veterans, detainees, women, civil servants, diplomatic service and ordinary people will be considered.
“The white farmers who are carrying out farming activities on gazetted land will not be tolerated as it is illegal in terms of the laws of the country. Farms that exceed the recommended sizes will also be down sized starting February so that their sizes comply with government legal requirement on maximum size.”
The chiefs got between 60 to 80 hectares of land. According to Matiza, the province has over 20 000 people on the waiting list.
Only white commercial farmers into dairy and cattle breeding or those who openly support Zanu PF will be spared.
“The remaining letters will be ready in a week after we withdraw from those occupying your land including whites appearing in our system," he said.
"We are not racists because there are whites who are here because they have complied with our policies in line with the President’s expectations to spare those into breeding and dairy farming,” Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora said.
Chief Musarurwa welcomed the development and appealed to government to set up a revolving fund for chiefs.
Fortune Charumbira, the Chiefs Council president, lauded Matiza and blamed former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa for denying them land.
“I am happy although it is 34 years late," he said. "Mutasa was the minister for lands and security and had more than enough powers to give us land but instead he said he also wants to be a chief. Aaah how many offices do you want?"