MDC promises new land policy

THE Welshman Ncube-led MDC has pledged in its election manifesto to deracialise land ownership to afford an opportunity for every Zimbabwean to own land, saying it does not support farm invasions.

Nqobile Bhebhe
Chief Reporter

MDC launched its election manifesto with the theme “Devolution is our new Revolution” at the weekend in Binga.

According to the manifesto, land ownership between 1890 and 1990 was skewed against indigenous black Zimbabweans.

“An MDC government, whose ideology is guided by fairness and justice, will seek to deracialise land ownership so that every Zimbabwean who wants to own land is afforded that opportunity,” the party manifesto read.

“This means a full land audit, managed by the new land commission, being empowered to expose corruption, multiple farm ownership and cause of non-productivity.”

The manifesto said the party “identifies overconcentration of power on a few individuals because of the absence of a devolved system of government, as one of the key causes of land imbalances and subsequent problems”.

“MDC does not agree with land invasions that disenfranchise other citizens, taking lives and unfairly displacing private property owners and labour,” the manifesto reads.

“This is the picture of land reform, as implemented between 1998 and 2013.”
The manifesto says as a result, agricultural output declined from 3,7 million tonnes of grain to less than 1,7 million tonnes, an annual $700 million food import bill and close to two million people are under constant threat of starvation.

“To add salt to injury, only a few hundred politically connected cronies own more than five farms each and have access to unlimited farming inputs,” the party continued.

“Thousands of peasants in former commercial farms have no access to finance or security other than an offer letter.”
The party said each local authority and provincial government will be required to draw a food security work plan to reduce food insecurity.

Zapu, which has forged an election pact with MDC, also said in its manifesto that the chaotic acquisition and allocation of land in Zimbabwe over the last 10 years had shaken the farming system, but failed to provide an alternative that guaranteed food security and self-sufficiency.

A total of 1,4 million people are said to be receiving assistance through the government and humanitarian agencies.

Critics say the country, once regarded as the breadbasket of the region, was relegated to a basket case after the government embarked on a chaotic land reform programme.

Statistics also show that traditional grain growing farmers have in recent years switched to the more lucrative tobacco crop.

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