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Mugabe’s missing 11m ha

Itai Dzamara

DESPITE persistent claims by government that it has resettled 300 000 families under the land reform A1 model, the Presidential Land Review Committee’s report submitted yest

erday revealed that less than half that number of families have in fact been resettled.

Sources privy to the report, which President Robert Mugabe officially received from chairman of the committee Charles Utete at State House yesterday, said it exposed as false the claim that 300 000 families had been resettled.

Only about 130 000 families have been allocated land, it reveals.

The report also says government and Zanu PF officials have in many cases seized several farms each whilst depriving ordinary people of land.

Resettlement figures were exaggerated to justify the grabbing of large tracts of land, much of which is currently lying idle.

Of the 11 million hectares of land acquired by the government for resettlement, less than four million hectares have been allocated to peasants, sources said.

“The report identified that about 130 000 families were resettled under the fast track scheme,” said a source.

“It further identified the process whereby government and ruling party officials helped themselves to farms whilst figures were inflated of families that were resettled.”

In his first response to the report recently, Mugabe gave his officials a two-week ultimatum to surrender extra farms and remain with one each.

Special Affairs Minister John Nkomo, who also reportedly has more than one farm, has said some officials were now surrendering surplus farms.

“These figures were being compiled starting from the district level up to the provincial level,” another source said. “It was therefore easy to claim a certain number of families as having been resettled on a number of farms, including those taken over by chefs.”

Since August last year, when government claimed to have concluded the violence-ridden fast track scheme, there have been queries over figures provided for resettled families.

Sources said that one of the focal points of the Utete team was to verify the figures, hence the discovery of the inflating of figures as well as multiple farm ownership by chefs.

The Presidential Land Review report is understood to have recommended government revisit the fast track scheme, recover looted farms and allocate them to deserving peasants in order to establish some respectability in the agrarian reform programme.

The area of productivity was also highlighted in the report, with the low uptake of land by beneficiaries seen as perpetuating the food deficit in the country.

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