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Lands officials warned against wayward behavior

MARTIN MAWAYA

GWERU -We are the vanguards of the land that Zimbabwe is being denigrated for by the western countries, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture Professor Obert Jiri has said.

He said the land issue is very emotional and has to be handled with care and with sincere.

Prof Jiri said this during the land use, planning and management workshop with lands officers from the country’s ten provinces.

“The lands part of this ministry are yourselves ( lands officers) and you are not just ordinary employees but you are the vanguard of the land that Zimbabwe is being vilified for, that’s why  you are so important to the equation of our politics and critical department to the entire nation,” he said.

He urged the officials to shun corruption, amid reports of land disputes caused by double allocation.

“When we hear stories of corrupt people within the lands department, it defeats the whole purpose of why we are all here.

“Most disputes of land boundaries are caused by double allocation through fake papers generated by you (lands officers) to cause disorder. We must try to regularize things so that we don’t have land disputes,” he said.

He added that the lands ministry officials have the responsibility to make sure that the land reform is a success and that order is restored.

“Where we are now, we must put to finality all land problems.  We should make sure that we don’t have district or provincial officers who misbehave, instead all the information that you give us should be gospel truth,” said Prof Jiri.

Prof Jiri fired a salvo at government officials who are illegally downsizing or allocating land to their cronies.

He said all the land processes should be done in the presence of all responsible lands committee members to avoid corrupt activities.

“When you do farm downsizing, you must go as a team so that the process is done smoothly. The committee must sign the form for downsizing and it should not be an individual decision. Don’t be part of the lawlessness,” warned Prof Jiri.

Meanwhile, in a bid to curb the rot, the lands ministry will next year effect random transfers.

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