Parly committee rejects Land Commission Bill

HARARE - Parliament’s Legal Committee (PLC) has rejected the Land Commission Bill, arguing that its attempts to give chiefs authority over agricultural land were ultra vires the new Constitution.

This was revealed in a PLC report released last week by Parliament.

Early this month, Senate president Edna Madzongwe announced that she had received an adverse report on the Bill from the committee, stating that chief’s jurisdiction remains confined to communal lands.

The Bill seeks to provide for a new Zimbabwe Land Commission referred to in Section 296 of the new Constitution adopted in 2013.

The proposed amendments had been approved by the Senate on March 29.

The adverse report was explained to the Senate on April 4, and Senator Chiefs expressed their disagreement with it.

“Having considered . . . provisions of the Constitution, the (PLC) committee was of the opinion that the amendments proposed to the Land Commission Bill were ultra vires the Constitution,” acting PLC chairperson Fortune Chasi said in the adverse report.

“The roles of the Land Commission are patently clear as are the roles of traditional leaders and the two are not expected to interact.

“The Commission has jurisdiction over agricultural land while traditional leaders have authority, jurisdiction and control over communal land or other areas for which they have been appointed noting that the definition of agricultural land in section 72 excludes communal land,” he said.

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