By A Correspondent| MDC Alliance Secretary General Charlton Hwende has criticised the white owned Dendairy company for evicting 12,500 blacks in Chiredzi.
His comments come as Norton MP Temba Mliswa and Harare East MP Tendai Biti were in parliament yesterday blocked from grilling Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa on authorising a White Farmer to evict 12500 Shangaan blacks for a grass growing project.
The Dendairy company is displacing the blacks at a time when barely a few kilometers away the ZANU PF businessman Billy Rautenbach’s ethanol project, has failed dismally 11 years after displacing thousands of blacks from their ancestral properties. Below is the transcript:
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, my supplementary question is that Government is seized with removing illegal settlers. These are not illegal settlers but legal settlers; they have been there for a very long time – nine years. They are 12 000 of them and not only that but those who live off them it will be 50 000 and over one person…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is the question?
HON. T. MLISWA: The question is, have we now gotten to a point of reversing the Land Reform Programme where we now have to vacate our ancestral lands? I might as well go and inform saSabhuku inini, kuti chiendai zvenyu nekuti Hurumende ichakubvisai pano apa. What is the cost of 12 000 people vis-à-vis one farmer?
The Government has enough farms to be able to give. The Hon. Minister is embarking on an underutilisation programme that can identify farms. So why do we not wait for that process to happen? Identify and give to him but we cannot afford to reverse the Land Reform Programme, the gains of the struggle. The Indigenisation Empowerment Act, he repealed it again. What are the people of Zimbabwe going to be left with when the little that they have in land they do not have? My question is very clear, they are not illegal; they are legal. Is it now going to be a standard measure for the whole country? Can we now go as Members of Parliament to say kumaruwa kwamuri uku, Hurumende kana yakusvika pano, musavake inotora.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I thank Hon. Mliswa but he had misdirected himself in the sense that these people are being relocated to another place. He has misdirected himself as if this is a new way of doing things but the law that I cited allows the President to possess the land that you occupy if there is a project of national importance and the law has been in practice for a long time. This is part of our law and if he was unaware of it, this is the law and this is a fact.
It is not just a decision that was done overnight that such hay could be grown in that area. People are being relocated and are being advised of the reasons why they are to be resettled and if houses are going to be constructed, that will be done. They have been informed of the reasons behind their relocation. – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – The Hon. Member does not want a response but simply wants an argument but this is what the law states and that is the position at law. I thank you. – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Mliswa, please may you approach the Chair?
HON. BITI: On a point of clarification Madam Speaker! Thank you. My point of clarification to the esteemed Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of the House is …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti please, may you be connected?
HON. BITI: Yes, I am trying to do that. Madam Speaker Ma’am, my point of clarification is to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and esteemed Leader of the House. On what basis do we now call a grass making project a national project?
Secondly, on what criteria are we giving this land and ejecting 12 500 people to one Dendairy farmer, the Coetzee brothers? On what criteria is grass growing a national project that justifies the disbursement of people from their cultural land? It is not justified Hon. Speaker Ma’am.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Madam Speaker, I am actually surprised that the Hon. Member who knows the laws very well can actually attest to what I was saying that it is within the confines of the law is speaking, the way he is speaking. He is now pretending to be an agriculturalist to question the type of grass and how we should move forward in terms of cattle rearing. I am actually surprised that he is saying that. I think there is insincerity in the way the Hon. Member is asking because he knows the law very well and he knows that the President is empowered to do that. As to the criteria of which farmer has been given that particular land surely, it is not relevant to me. What I am here to answer is that the policy framework, if we have a project of national importance which the agriculturalist will say that we will ensure that our heard is improved, all the experts have said this is the route to go. I am sure if he wants to go and join the agricultural college and argue with them, I think so be it but what I have said is what is obtaining and is within the confines of the law. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I just want to follow up on his question. The first question is very simple who is going to resettle 12500 people, the Dendairy or the State? Secondly, the State has failed to resettle a lot of people including Cyclone Idai and Tokwe-Mukorsi victims. My issue with this is there is an exercise being run very adequately by the Ministry of Agriculture on identifying land that is not being used. Why are we displacing 12500 people, which can be equated to another Land Reform Programme, for one company which we do not know how it was selected. I do not care if it was the biggest dairy company in the country; it does not have to go to one place other than for easy of management.
The issue with this is this is obviously going to require a statement from the Minister of Local Government. He must make sure that everything is covered clearly because it has major ramifications on the Land Reform Programme because we have got issues like the Global Deed Settlement, we have got Statutory Instrument 62 and now we are getting 12500 people displaced. We want all this wrapped into one banner and brought to this Parliament so that we can discuss it and see where we stand because there are now 12500 people, we are playing with their lives – [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjection.)
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO): Order Hon. Biti.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Speaker the Hon Member simply repeated what Hon. Biti was saying, I think I have exhausted – [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, order please.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I think we may belabour ourselves with nothing. The SI was recently gazetted and this Parliament is going to consider it and once it considers it, I think the esteemed Hon. Members, if they feel that there is something amiss with it, they discuss with the Parliamentary Legal Committee and then it can be tabled here if they so feel that there is something that is not within the confines of our laws, that is contained in that particular Statutory Instrument.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have a question Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, please sit down.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am invited by Parliament and I have the right to speak. Last week, I was not here I have only came today but you do not want me to speak. This Parliament is for the ZANU PF and MDC, you do not allow independent members to speak – [HON. BITI: Allow him to speak, allow the independent to speak.] – I do not come for virtual meetings.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. T. Mliswa, I have not asked you to speak, you must follow procedure.