The Sunday News
Harmony Agere, Harare Bureau
THE Government will give priority to young landless people when it begins redistributing vacant and underutilised land which has been identified through an official land audit, President Mnangagwa has said.
In his graveside eulogy during the burial of national hero, Retired Police Deputy Commissioner Moses Griffiths Mpofu at the National Heroes’ Acre yesterday, the President said tracts of idle land had been identified for redistribution.
“I am aware that our youths are crying out for pieces of land and are eager to work the land. The inquiry we launched on agricultural land has identified lots of land which is vacant, underutilised and belonging to multiple owners. Government will repossess that land for on-leasing to the landless, foremost among them the youths.”
The Land Reform Programme, said the President, must validate its justness by delivering to “this generation of youth”.
An increasing number of local youths are taking up farming as a full time profession. The President called on farmers to take advantage of this season’s good rains to grow the agriculture sector and the economy.
“The land must therefore be worked on, made to produce like never before. Meanwhile, my Government continues to build dams, and to set up irrigation schemes designed to climate-proof our agriculture, towards greater production and productivity in both lean and “fat” years. This is more urgent and important as the ongoing trade on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area presents opportunities.”
He said Government, through Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) and ZimTrade, was developing new and expanding existing export markets for agricultural produce. He said the agriculture sector was a critical conduit towards transforming the country into a upper middle income economy by the year 2030.
“Let us therefore put Zimbabwe on the global agriculture map, by taking full advantage of our rich soils, climate and our tradition as a hardworking people. In this regard export market-led production must be strengthened leveraging on the ongoing work by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) and ZimTrade.
“Our country is well on the path to irreversible economic recovery. This is further augmented by the macro-economic fundamentals which are pointing in the right direction.”
Turning to the Covid-19 pandemic, President Mnangagwa said he will soon be vaccinated along with all Cabinet Ministers. Government, he said, continues to mobilise more vaccines after the country took delivery of its first consignment of 200 000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from China. Zimbabwe launched its nationwide vaccination programme on Thursday.
“Early in the week, we took delivery of our first batch of vaccines against the pandemic. The vaccination programme started rolling out this Thursday, with our Vice President, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, receiving the first jab and many other frontline workers joining. The vaccine is safe and an effective antidote against Covid-19 and indeed part of our weaponry in fighting the virus. All of us, including myself as the President, Cabinet Ministers and all officials, will get vaccinated.”
He urged Zimbabweans to embrace the immunisation programme in order for the country to quickly return to normalcy.
President Mnangagwa also warned against corruption in urban local authorities, saying law enforcement agencies had been put on high alert to deal with graft. Government, he said, will not shirk from dealing with land barons behind the illegal parcelling of land to desperate home seekers.
“Recently, Government announced measures to clean up illegal settlements created by opposition-controlled local authorities. We mean business and there will be no going back or let up. We cannot leave our people to the whims and caprices of notorious land barons who have been running riot.
Equally, the fight against all forms of corruption and other criminal activities continues at full throttle. This is what the late Cde Moses Griffiths Mpofu stood for. We will not let him down by condoning lawlessness in the country.”
The President said Cde Mpofu served the country with distinction, loyalty, courage and fortitude. He said the country had lost a repository of knowledge and true patriot.
“He never wavered in the course of serving the nation and Government particularly with regards ensuring law, order and safety; hence we honour him in this befitting way, resting him among his wartime comrades,” he said.
He added: “I exhort the officers, men and women in the Zimbabwe Republic Police to emulate the footprints of the late national hero, Deputy Commissioner (Rtd) Cde Mpofu, who was a rare breed, uncompromising service officer, dedicated and disciplined cadre. You must be emboldened by a benchmarking legacy our national hero bequeathed to the policing service.”
Government, he said, was committed towards supporting the Police Service with regards executing its mandate.