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Mugabe and Smith denied povo title deed, 'not to relinquish control over them' revealed late John Robertson

30 Jan 2022 at 18:03hrs | Views
"John Robertson (85), a highly respected Zimbabwean economist who lived through the rise and fall of the country's increasingly volatile economy and three successive governments, passed away in Harare on Sunday January 23, 2022," Ben Freeth announced.
"John catalogued the country when it was the fastest growing economy in the world, and then catalogued it when it was the fastest shrinking economy in the world."
To some of us who read some of John's articles; they were so informative, they were essential must read. It is therefore disappointing to hear his sound advice was sometimes ignored by those in power and authority.
"Robertson also catalogued the time during full Chapter 7 United Nations sanctions when the economy was growing. In the 1970s, he put forward a proposal to give title deeds to the communal dwellers.  It was turned down by the Rhodesian Front government of Ian Smith," continued Ben.
"After independence from Britain in 1980, Robertson put forward the proposal again.  It was also turned down by the government of Robert Mugabe for the same reason: the political authorities did not wish to relinquish control over the people by giving them ownership of the land that they lived on."
Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime carried out their own redistribution in which the regime seized most white-owned farms; very often accompanied by, politically motivated, gratuitous violence against the white owners and their farm workers. The farms were, on paper, to redistribute to the landless peasants. In practice, the farms were given to the Zanu PF loyalists and their cronies.
Ben Freeth and his father-in-law, Mike Campbell, were two of the over 4 000 white farmers whose farms were seized by Zanu PF.
The tragedy is that most of the beneficiaries of the Zanu PF land distribution failed to put the farms into productive use. Zimbabwe's, until then, very productive agricultural sector collapsed and was one of the primary causes of the country's economic collapse.
Zimbabwe's economic recovery will hinge on taking the farms from the Zanu PF ruling elite and their cronies who are now holding on to this key asset and holding the nation to ransom. They have failed to make productive use of the farms and yet refuse to give them back.
The proper land redistribution should have removed people out of the overcrowded rural areas and resettled them in state land or farms requisitioned for the purpose. This is outstanding work; there are still many rural areas facing serious land degradation because of overcrowding.
All Zimbabweans must be given title deeds to the land on which they live, be they a rural dweller or commercial farmer, as a matter of right.
The chiefs and other tribal leaders have retained their strangle hold over the rural people, first enjoyed under white colonial rule; reduced them to nothing short of medieval serfs beholden to the overbearing Zanu PF operatives and proxies. Giving the people the title-deeds will empower them and end the political control.
It is ironic that Zanu PF ruling elite still insist on calling themselves the men and women who liberated Zimbabwe and yet they have retained all the oppressive measures used by the whites to oppress the blacks. 42 years and counting and still Zanu PF continues to deny the ordinary people the one possession they can have and cherish – land and the title deeds to prove ownership.

Give povo ownership of the land and they will plant fruit trees, build decent house, etc. because they will know it is an investment. Title deeds will give them the confidence to build without fear of being forced to leave and they can sell and recovery something from their labour.
Every Zimbabwean must have the right to own the house and the land on which it stands!
Thank you very much John Robertson for reminding those in power and authority of their responsibility to upholding the property rights of all and for the many words of wisdom on many other matters. The greatest monument in your honour will be for povo to be finally granted title deeds. RIP!

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