Fungi Kwaramba in New York
AGRICULTURAL land is not for sale and anyone who will be found selling farms allocated to them under the Land Reform Programme will face the music, President Mnangagwa has said.
Addressing Zimbabweans employed at the United Nations Headquarters in New York at the weekend, the President said when the Government repossessed land from whites to settle hundreds of thousands of landless black people, it was legislated that the land was not for sale.
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have shown keen interest in investing back home, owning farms and being part of President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030, to make Zimbabwe an upper middle-class economy.
President Mnangagwa said Diasporans were vital to the modernisation and industrialisation of Zimbabwe through skills transfer and assured them that they would always be accommodated in the country’s transition and economic activities.
He however, warned them not to fall prey to fraudsters who sell agricultural land.
“Land is in three categories, there is agricultural land, that is not for sale. Agricultural land is not for sale. We have issued 99-year leases. Then there is urban land which is freehold, that one is bought and sold. Then there is communal land that you engage with the traditional leaders.
“It’s unlawful in Zimbabwe to buy agricultural land, you can only buy freehold land, which is urban,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said freehold land is now difficult to get since people have been resettled.
“However, each province has a Lands Committee, chaired by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, that committee is charged with the responsibility to discover land which is not being properly used, underused or derelict land, that is what we redistribute,” President Mnangagwa said.
The President said the Provincial Minister, when land is discovered, gives a recommendation to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development who then gives an offer letter.
Annually, the country receives more than US$1 billion in remittances from the diaspora and President Mnangagwa said this makes those abroad vital in the development of the country.
“Under the Second Republic, we are embracing all Zimbabweans in the diaspora. Wherever I go, I make sure the Ambassador in that country organises a meeting so that I meet people in the diaspora. Many of our people have acquired skills in the Diaspora and we want those skills back home, because nyika inovakwa nevene vayo and we are the owners, whether you are in diaspora or back home.
“Secondly, a country is run by its own people, tega muZimbabwe hatifanire kutonga nyika tichiudzirwa nevarungu kuti tongai makadai, hatiwirirani. Those who want to work with us are welcome but on our terms. This is how we are modernising Zimbabwe. We need to industralise Zimbabwe”.
The President said modernisation of the country can be swift if it’s being done by Zimbabweans and not foreigners.
“We need to develop Zimbabwe at a pace of our own, we can only progress if outsiders come and help on our terms and not theirs.
“The skills that you have acquired here, we need them back home. We did a skills audit for Zimbabwe where they created a database for all the skills in the country, where we need more skills, we look at the database and correct that, we should have a database for people in the diaspora and where we need certain skills we will appeal to you to come home and we will make sure we will give you, as much as is possible, the same comfort you have here,” President Mnangagwa said.