Tendai Biti led opposition party the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have rapped Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo for his remarks over land. Chombo allegedly said that only Zanu-PF has a right to the land and all landowners who support the opposition should return the land. PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume said that Chombo should be punished for his remarks or resign at the very least.
Here is the PDP’s full statement:
The People’s Democratic Party finds Chombo’s recent utterances on land ownership disturbing, such hallucinations cannot go unchallenged.
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Chombo recently told farmers at a field day that they were not free to join a party of their choice because they own a piece of land. Such words warranty a high level sanction. Chombo must be punished for what he said, he must at least resign and apologise thereafter.
As a matter of fact his utterances violate section 67(2) of the Supreme law of the land.
“Every Zimbabwean citizen has the right, to form, to join and to participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of their choice , to campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause.”
Under this provision all citizens are free to participate in peaceful political activity to influence, challenge or support the policies of the Government or any political or whatever cause. The land reform program is therefore not a basis to reverse such rights.
Chombo went further to claim that the party which liberated the country reserves the sole right to the land a claim also based on false information.
While some of the people in ZANUPF were part of the liberation struggle, it is also important to note that other movements were involved in the liberation struggle.
The masses outside the active political organisations also played a pivotal role supporting the fighters with food and information among other things.
More importantly the agenda of the liberation struggle included the right for citizens to make independent political choices which right was denied by the colonial government.
The PDP is aware ZANUPF has been unfairly using Chombo’s words to intimidate innocent citizens who work hard on the fields to earn a living and also contribute to food security as well as the productive sector of the economy.
We want to state that the land issue is a constitutional issue which Chombo cannot wake up on the wrong side of bed and suddenly wield power to reverse.
Section 289 of the Constitution states that allocation and distribution of agricultural land must be fair and equitable, having regard to gender balance and diverse community interests.
The Constitution states that the use of the land must be that of creating productivity, food security, good health, nutrition and generate employment. In that regard ZANUPF’s personal aggrandisement and power retention agenda does not form part of the constitutional agenda on land.
More importantly the Constitution states that “no person may be deprived arbitrarily of their right to use and occupy agricultural land.”
As we state in the Holistic Program for Economic Transformation (HOPE) the state must put to rest the land question.
Title must be given to those who occupy land to ensure security of tenure, we know ZANUPF resists because they intent to continuously maintain a leash on those who own land.
Beyond that title empowers the new farmer with borrowing capacity which is critical for productivity on the farms.
Finally Chombo must surrender some of his multiple farms and choose one then encourage his colleagues in ZANUPF to do the same.
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