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University of Oslo (2002)

Land reform evaluation : : Winners and Losers of the Zimbabwean Land Reform Process

Mandiriza, Thulani

Titre : Land reform evaluation : : Winners and Losers of the Zimbabwean Land Reform Process

Auteur : Mandiriza, Thulani

Université de soutenance : University of Oslo

Grade : Master thesis 2002

Résumé partiel
The inequalities in land distribution in Zimbabwe are of a historical legacy that has to be corrected urgently if the country is to enjoy a peaceful and prosperous future. The land issue is an unfinished decolonisation process and should be addressed in a way that is consistent with economic fundamentals and at the same time minimising the fears of white commercial farmers. The colonial legacy of capital accumulation based upon unequal landownership patterns and access to agricultural resources and infrastructure is what underlies the growing conflicts over land in Zimbabwe and more generally in the Southern African region. It is important to note that black Zimbabweans are in revolt, not against the white farming society, but rather against paternalism, economic and political domination by a small white community. Zimbabweans are seriously concerned about the land issue today than never before because of the realisation that land is a finite resource that can be a key factor for economic development and reduction of rural poverty. The economic decline, lack of foreign direct investment and increasing unemployment levels directly increases the land demand in the rural areas as the redundant workers retire to their rural homes. Land reform is largely supported on the grounds of alleviating population pressure in the communal areas, bringing under-utilised land into full production, to expand or improve the infrastructure of economic production and to ameliorate the plight of people who had been adversely affected by war and try to rehabilitate them. The land reform programme has also been criticised as an electioneering ploy used for political expediency by the government. The issue of resettlement is always raised with much vigour when elections are nearing and its forgotten business once the elections were over. An example would be the 1985, 1996,2000 and 2002 parliamentary and presidential elections.The poor performance of Zimbabwe s land reform has been attributed to the legal framework governing land acquisition stage. The first legal provision that guided the land reform exercise was the Lancaster House Constitution that provided for respect of private property rights, thus any land could only be acquired on a willing-buyer-willing-seller basis. For 10 years land was transferred this way with the help of British funding though this was not adequate for significant land transfers. Other reasons for slow land reform process would be the political balancing act played by the government so as to satisfy all sections of the society. This includes the rich and the poor, rural and urban populations, farmers, industry, central and local government etc. The varied nature of these different social interest groups also translates to varying and often opposing land demands. There is the anti-land reform alliance which includes white commercial farmers which believes that tempering with the land is tempering with the golden goose that lays the golden eggs ; the white banking and business interests which service agriculture and the rural communities where the government enjoys support and the state would not want to alienate. The government hopes to satisfy black capitalists and the elite, by opening up land in growth points for business people to acquire freehold tenure. The study briefly outlines the progress or lack of it of the market-based land reform that was widely supported by the international community but with less commitment in the provision of necessary financing as promised in the Lancaster House agreement. The major problems of the market-based land reform programmes are, that it is blind to both politics and power relations on the land ; it will redistribute little land to benefit the landless majority ; over-valued land which will effectively exclude poor farmers and this is worsened by the lack of collateral security to access private credit.


Page publiée le 13 février 2018