Land issue a ‘political tool’

Augustine Mukaro

SERIOUS disparities have emerged between the land reform policy design and its implementation.


According to the So

uthern Africa Regional Poverty Network (Sarpn)’s latest report titled Disparity Between Policy Design and Implementation, the land issue was turned into a political tool instead of serving its purpose of resettling landless peasants.


Sarpn said despite an elaborate institutional framework put in place by government to implement the fast track land reform programme, events on the ground were beyond any logical comprehension.


“They were characterised by nationwide farm invasions and occupations that were initiated by war veterans and to a large extent, the farm occupations were legally supported by government,” the report said.

Sarpn said although the fast track managed to transfer huge tracks of land to the black majority, there were fears that the land redistribution exercise would bring permanent food shortages to Zimbabwe. Already the fast track land reform programme has impacted negatively on all sectors of the economy.


“The country has seen a significant drop in agricultural production since the beginning of farm disturbances,” the report said.


It said the exercise had resulted in a gross shortage of foreign currency through diminished agricultural exports resulting in massive unemployment as many farms discontinued the employment of labour and the liquidation of many enterprises whose life depended upon the supply of raw materials from the agricultural sector.


It said while government was claiming the programme was a resounding success it had only managed to resettle a paltry 135 000 families on both A1 and A2 models, a far-cry from the targeted 300 000 under A1 and 55 000 under A2 schemes.


The report said government still needed to rationalise development on the ground considering that even President Robert Mugabe acknowledged that things did not go well with the land reform programme.


Ruling party chefs have been accused of allocating themselves more than one farm each at the expense of the intended beneficiaries.

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