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New land audit report set to expose Zimbabwe land grab by political elites

by Staff reporter
23 Nov 2023 at 07:37hrs | Views
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was Wednesday handed the final audit report on 254,538 farms in what is set to lift the lid on the country's widely disproportionate land ownership patterns post-the land reform programme.

The Land Information Management System (LIMS) Audited Farms Database presentation was officially handed to Mnangagwa by Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) chairperson commissioner Tendai Bare at State House.

The government sponsored exercise sought to provide answers on land allocation, distribution of beneficiaries by farm categories, where they come from, investment made by the beneficiaries, production, land management, environmental management and provision of social services.

The outcome of the audit is widely expected to feed into future government policy on land utilisation.

However, primary interest is mainly focused on who owns pieces of the country's prime resource amid claims that political elites used their proximity to the state to grab tracts of arable land to themselves and their families outside the spirit of the one-family-one-farm policy.

Zimbabwe embarked on a controversial land reform programme at the turn of the century which set to correct nearly a century old land imbalances brought by white colonialism.

Over 4,500 white settler farmers were thrown out of tracts of arable land through a combination of force and other forms of inducement by the then Robert Mugabe led government.

The chaotic land reform process saw the resettlement of previously disadvantaged black Zimbabweans, but the programme has been scorned for creating an avenue for massive pilferage by elites.

Little however is expected to come from government by way of remedial action as a lot of beneficiaries of the country's prime resource are dominated by some influential politicians linked to the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Land in Zimbabwe has also fed into a dirty government patronage system that has benefited known followers of the ruling party.

In 2019, Mnangagwa claimed during an interview by state media that Mugabe's widow, Grace owned 16 farms against government's one-family, one farm policy.

"I know of one lady ‘Stop It' who has about 16 yet the law says one family one farm," he said while referring to the former first lady.

In May this year, it also emerged during divorce proceedings between Mugabe's daughter Bona and Simba Chikore that the two individually or jointly owned 21 farms, confirming claims of massive plunder by the late former leader.

Source - zimlive
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