HARARE – The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is set to investigate the alleged abuse of agriculture inputs distributed under the Command Agriculture with a view to push for the prosecution of the culprits.
By Andrew Kunambura
This was disclosed by the committee’s chairperson and Gokwe Nembudziya legislator, Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
The move will potentially set the youthful politician, known for his daredevil political approach, against some powerful political forces in the country.
Wadyajena made a name for himself when he forcefully pursued the rampant abuse of the Youth Fund during the time he chaired the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, often clashing with former minister Saviour Kasukuwere who had presided over the portfolio.
Although the reports produced by his committee have not been acted on despite exposing the extent of looting of the fund, Wadyajena still believes there is merit in investigating the abuse of Command Agriculture inputs since a new political dispensation has dawned.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is currently leading an anti-corruption crusade that has seen the arrests of prominent politicians.
“… Mnangagwa is against corruption, he even says that if his own child steals, he should be arrested. He doesn’t defend corrupt people. I was moved to the committee on Lands and Agriculture where a lot of corruption is taking place. So all the cotton issues and issues where the Grain Marketing Board fails to pay farmers, they are all now in my hands. They will see us, we will visit all of them,” he said.
“They say in some areas, inputs are given only to owners of commercial farms. So should everyone who has no commercial farm suffer since we cannot all get those farms? Command Agriculture issues are at my heart as well as presidential input scheme because people are stealing these inputs a lot.
“It doesn’t matter which position one holds in the party (Zanu PF) or who do you know, our committee will work to expose all those thieves, they should go to prison. We will get all of them. We are going to expose all that.
“I am not saying we will fight against the government, we are there to help government by doing our work as Parliament, exercising the oversight function by following up on all those who looted inputs and sold them. We will produce a report on that and where we find it necessary, we will submit it to police for further action,” Wadyajena said.
He also said the committee would be investigating all land ownerships in the country with the view of dealing with multiple farm ownership.
This, he said, is in line with government’s land audit, which was promised by minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri.
“As the committee chairperson, I will make sure more people benefit from the land redistribution in the country. Some have too many farms and we hear of late that some people actually have up to 15 farms. Minister Shiri has said he will work to ensure that one man has one farm so everyone must follow the law,” he said.