Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has embarked on a land and mine audit in Matabeleland and Midland provinces to unearth what it says is unfair distribution of the resources at the expense of deserving locals.
A party delegation, Wednesday met outspoken Filabusi Chief Vezi Maduna Mafu, to discuss how they can go about the exercise in the district amid reports that most people who owned land were outsiders.
Last year the party also assisted Chief Maduna in resolving a land dispute in Nkankezi Village where suspected Zanu-PF members had illegally resettled themselves.
In an interview with CITE, MRP president, Mqondisi Moyo, said their audit exercise was motivated by a need to equitably distribute land among locals from the two regions.
“We were in Avoca, Filabusi where we had a discussion with Chief Maduna over the land disparities and irregularities taking place in his area of jurisdiction. As a party we were touched by what Chief Maduna told us, which was people were coming in to resettle or occupy land without consulting him first. He said these outsiders were failing to respect him as the custodian of the land,” he said.
Moyo said it was worrying to hear of a number of reports alleging that outsiders were parcelling out land and mine claims to some Chinese business people.
“We and Chief Maduna are worried about this development that some Chinese are coming to make business on the land and mines available in the area. The chief had no kind words, as he felt disrespected. He also gave us the green light to stand up for locals as we always do. Our role as MRP is to fight for injustices in Matabeleland and Midlands,” claimed the MRP leader.
He added that the party’s land audit was meant to unravel the disparities committed in the name of a land reform programme.
“The government has been conducting chaotic land resettlement programmes, giving land to outsiders at the expense of locals. Last year we addressed another land anomaly in Nkankezi Village, where locals were evicted by the Ministry of Lands yet these were scrupulous individuals. We engaged our lawyers with the support of Chief Maduna and we won the case and up today, locals still remain on that land. The land is owned by chiefs not Zanu-PF,” he said.
Moyo also expressed concern at the administration of the Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs).
“We are not happy with how the government is handling the EPOs, from our understanding for the next three years, no one is supposed to peg mining areas in Matabeleland and midlands but we discover some individuals have been doing so, parcelling mining claims to each other while locals do not benefit anything,” he said.
“The need for equal distribution pushed Blacks to go to war with White Settlers before independence was attained, around 1961 to 1979 and now it is unfortunate that Blacks are colonising other Blacks.”