By Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) established by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to investigate the country’s land ownership patterns in the aftermath of the land reform programme has issued a damning assessment of government’s tenure system.
According to a preliminary audit report presented to Agriculture Minister Parrence Shiri, the much vilified land reform programme, blamed for the country’s economic and political problems is in shambles.
Critics have argued that the chaotic manner in which the distribution of land was carried out as well as the tenure system anchored on lease agreements between farmers and government did not augur well for development in the agricultural sector and the ZLC seems to have agreed despite the Zanu PF administration insisting it would not provide title to land.
“On issues of security of tenure, the tenure documents given to A1 farmers are shambolic because they came from different allocating authorities.
“This made it impossible to verify the legal status of genuine farm beneficiaries,” the report reads in part.
From double allocations that have triggered fights on land some fatal to corrupt allocations by officials from government, traditional leaders to anyone including war veterans, the chaos in Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector might need a complete overhaul and a more transparent tenure system.
“Basically, it was established that the carrying capacity of subdivisions, particularly of A1 farmers, far exceeded the planned target due to the fact that there were multiple allocations by authorities who were not following laid-down procedures,” the Commission said.
Mugabe reportedly parceled out land to his cronies amid reports he gave himself more than a dozen farms. The ZLC is expected to produce a report on revealing who owns what land with Mnangagwa demanding that government policy of one man one farm must be followed to the letter.
Farmers and the opposition as well as international multi-lateral institutions with interests in Zimbabwe’s promising agricultural sector have pleaded with government to provide title deed to those that hold land.
However, from former President Robert Mugabe to Mnangagwa, government has flatly refused arguing there is a possibility indigenous beneficiaries might sell the land back to white people.
At the turn of the century, as his power was threatened following the emergence of the opposition MDC, Mugabe unleashed war veterans onto white owned farmers forcibly taking away the land under the guise of correcting colonial land imbalances.
The result was chaos which wreaked the country’s agricultural sector on which the economy was anchored. Zimbabwe is yet to recover from this self inflicted body blow.