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Zim set to endorse security of tenure

Jan 31 2013 12:52 Malcom Sharara, Fin24’s correspondent in Zimbabwe

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Harare - Zimbabwe is set to see a major change in its land ownership if the draft constitution recently endorsed by the three political parties in the inclusive government is approved.

According to The Herald newspaper, the draft compels the state to give security of tenure to anyone occupying state land  and provide people resettled on agricultural land the right to transfer, lease or dispose of their rights to that land.

The draft presupposes the appointment of a Zimbabwe Land Commission which will among other things craft policies on land use and maximum land size, simplifying acquisition and transfer of land rights and systems of land tenure.

The commission is also expected to work towards eliminating all forms of unfair discrimination concerning land ownership.

If approved, the new measures are expected to restore order to the country’s agricultural sector and bring back its bread basket status.

Giving security of tenure is what Finance Minister Tendai Biti has been clamouring about for long.

Back in 2010, Biti told parliament: “For as long as there are no title deeds, the land is a dead asset. If we say that we want to develop this economy through agriculture, then we need banks to come in and finance agriculture.

“We need to restore the land market through title deeds or securitised leases guaranteed and supported by an act of parliament, not by an offer letter, which can be ignored the moment someone powerful appears.”

“If we say that land is the most important resource in this country, then it is imperative that there is security of tenure.”

The issue of transferring or leasing is also a major climb-down from Zanu-PF which has always been against the idea of leasing back land to white farmers.

In 2010, Mugabe slammed indigenous farmers leasing land to white former commercial farmers, saying such disturbing behaviour was tantamount to reversing the historic land reform programme.

This will however be a thing of the past as the envisaged Zimbabwe Land Commission is expected to eliminating all forms of unfair discrimination towards land ownership.

 - Fin24


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