PRESIDENT Mugabe has appointed Mrs Danisile Sibanda Hikwa as secretary for the Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC). Mrs Hikwa’s appointment, which follows the appointment of a nine-member commission in July 2016, is with effect from August 1, 2017. Prior to her new appointment as the accounting officer for the ZLC, Mrs Hikwa was the principal director responsible for research and specialist services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.

ZLC chairperson Commissioner Tendai Bare yesterday confirmed the appointment. Commissioner Bare said Mrs Hikwa assumed office at a time when the commission was seized with developing instruments that will lead to the development of a Land Information Management System, a key instrument which will assist Government in planning and making informed decisions.

“The net effect of the Commission’s mandate is to contribute to national economic growth and improved livelihoods derived from the land-based economic activities for the people of Zimbabwe. Commissioners of the ZLC warmly welcome the secretary into the fold and we are confident that Mrs Hikwa is up to the task at hand,” she said.

Mrs Hikwa holds a Master of Science in Tropical and Sub-Tropical Crop Science from the People’s Friendship University of Russia (Moscow,1982). In 1983, Mrs Hikwa underwent a post MSc Internship at the same institution, focusing on modificational and genotypical variability of quantitative traits and their interactions in spring wheat. She is also completed a Masters in Business Administration from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in 2005.

Mrs Hikwa served as a board member for a number of institutions, including the Tobacco Research Board, the Research Council of Zimbabwe, Work-related Learning Advisory Board of the Midlands State University, Food Standards Advisory Board (FSAB), among others. She also represented Zimbabwe in setting up some of the regional programmes such as the SADC Multi-Country Agricultural Productivity Programme (SADC-MAPP) and the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA).

Mrs Hikwa is an accomplished researcher and has authored and co-authored, and published a number of research-based articles in the field of agriculture. ZLC was established to ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of agricultural land that is vested in the State. The Commission is also mandated to conduct periodic audits of the agricultural land, investigate and determine complaints and disputes regarding supervision, administration, allocation of agricultural land and make recommendations to the Government, among other things.