THE ruling Zanu PF party has doled out sugarcane plots to Zanu PF youths in Chiredzi, Masvingo province, as a vote-buying gimmick ahead of the 2023 polls.
In past elections, the ruling party has been accused of using youths to beat up, intimidate or bully opponents.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Robson Mavhenyengwa confirmed last Friday that the youths will receive 10 hectares each.
“We have already identified the land and will soon dole it out to the youths. This is in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vision of not leaving the youths behind. We want the youths to be empowered and to create their jobs,” Mavhenyengwa told NewsDay.
Mavhenyengwa said the youths would get the sugarcane plots in Chiredzi.
The move comes after government has been accused of using land as a political tool ahead of 2023 elections by prioritising youths and war veterans at a time when ordinary citizens are struggling to get farms.
The country’s farm waiting list has ballooned to 260 000.
Last year, government concluded an audit of 16 000 farms, which revealed irregularities in redistribution of land taken from white commercial farmers in 2000 and allocated to indigenous farmers.
The audit revealed that the late former President Robert Mugabe’s family is linked to 21 farms. This year, government announced that it would conduct another audit of 100 000 farms to weed out corruption.
Lands and Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka recently told farmers in Kwekwe that war veterans and youths were the only groups allowed to bypass the waiting list.
“A lot of people talk about land and availability. They ask us if land is still available and the answer is yes and no. Those who wish to have land must go on that waiting list. For youths we have said this is now a fast track, they don’t have to queue.
“Youths will get an orientation that farming is a business and the business of farming requires organisation. We are currently in discussion with the Youths minister to empower banks so that every graduate gets financing immediately as they leave these centres. So by the time they get on the land, they will be having financing and the Lands ministry gives them a piece of land where they are going to farm. That’s the difference with the Jambanja era where we just took land and we couldn’t decide what to do next with it,” he said.
Masuka also revealed that about 383 000 farmers have offer letters across the country.
“There are 23 000 A2 farmers that we have given offer letters and 362 000 A1 farmers, but my waiting list is increasing everyday. As of yesterday, it was at 261 000 people on the waiting list. In terms of the law, we are also mandated to allocate land to war veterans of the liberation struggle, which is also 20%,” he said.