Zimbabwe land reform a success


Senior Member
Nov 30, 2006
Zimbabwe land reform 'not a failure'By Joseph Winter

BBC News

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New farmers defend their gains
Zimbabwe's often violent land reform programme has not been the complete economic disaster widely portrayed, a new study has found.

Most of the country's 4,000 white farmers - then the backbone of the country's agricultural economy - were forced from their land, which was handed over to about a million black Zimbabweans.

The study's lead author, Ian Scoones from the UK's Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University, told BBC News he was "genuinely surprised" to see how much activity was happening on the farms visited during the 10-year study.

"People were getting on with things in difficult circumstances and doing remarkably well," he said.

He declines, however, to characterise it as a success.

'Facts on the ground'

The policy was central to President Robert Mugabe's re-election campaigns in 2002 and 2008, as he argued that he was putting right the wrongs inherited from the pre-1980 colonial era, when black Zimbabweans were forced from their homelands in favour of white settlers.

But his numerous critics accused him of simply bribing voters, while destroying what used to be one of Africa's most developed economies.

"What we have observed on the ground does not represent the political and media stereotypes of abject failure; but nor indeed are we observing universal, roaring success," says the study - Zimbabwe's Land Reform, Myths and Realities.

Mr Scoones accepts that there were major problems with the "fast-track" land reform programme carried out since 2000, such as the violence, which included deadly attacks on white farmers and those accused of supporting the opposition, and the corruption associated with the allocation of some farms.

The study also notes that most beneficiaries complained about the government not giving them the support they need, such as seeds, fertiliser and ploughing the land.

But he says much of the debate has been unduly politicised.

"We wanted to uncover the facts on the ground," he said.

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Start Quote
The new land has transformed our lives”
End Quote
JM, a new farmer
Mr Scoones says it is important that the full pictures, with all its nuances, is known and argues that the 10-year study of 400 households in the southern province of Masvingo debunks five myths:

That land reform has been a total failure
That most of the land has gone to political "cronies"
That there is no investment on the resettled land
That agriculture is in complete ruins, creating chronic food insecurity
That the rural economy has collapsed.
Investing in the land

The study found that about two-thirds of people who were given land in Masvingo were "ordinary" - low-income - Zimbabweans. These are the people Mr Mugabe always said his reforms were designed to help.

The remaining one-third includes civil servants (16.5%), former workers on white-owned farms (6.7%), business people (4.8%) and members of the security services (3.7%).

Of these, he estimates that around 5% are "linked to the political-military-security elite".

In other words, that they were given the land because of their political connections, rather than their economic need, or agricultural skills.

Mr Scoones accepts that the proportion of such "cronies" being given land may be higher in other parts of Zimbabwe, especially in the fertile areas around the capital Harare, and that 5% of people may have gained more than 5% of the land even in Masvingo.

But he maintains that they gained a relatively small proportion of the overall land seized across the country.

The researchers found that, on average, each household had invested more than $2,000 (£1,200) on their land since they had settled on it - clearing land, building houses and digging wells.

This investment has led to knock-on activity in the surrounding areas, boosting the rural economy and providing further employment.

'Under the radar'

One of those questioned, identified only as JM, told the researchers that before being given land he had relied on help from others but now owns five head of cattle and employs two workers.

Many white farmers may be reluctant to return to work in Zimbabwe's agriculture "The new land has transformed our lives," he said.

Others say they are much better off farming than when they had jobs.

He says that about half of those surveyed are doing well, reaping good harvests and reinvesting the profits.

Maize is Zimbabwe's main food crop but its production remains reliant on good rains and output remains well below that pre-2000. Mr Scoones says Zimbabwe's food crisis of 2007-8 cannot be put down to the land seizures, as those people who went hungry produced a large surplus both the previous and subsequent years.

Before the "fast-track" land reform began in 2000, tobacco, mostly grown by white commercial farmers, was Zimbabwe's biggest cash crop.

But producing top quality tobacco requires considerable investment and know-how, both of which are lacking among many of the new black farmers.

Instead, they often grow cotton, which has now replaced tobacco as the main agricultural export.

Mr Scoones says those who are struggling the most are the least well-off civil servants, such as teachers and nurses, who have been unable to get credit and do not have the resources, or political connections, to invest in their land.

He hopes that as Zimbabwe's economy slowly recovers under a power-sharing government, a new programme can be worked out which would give these people the backing they need to succeed.

It is often argued that large-scale commercial farming - as many of the white Zimbabweans used to practise - is inherently more efficient than the smallholder system which replaced it, but Mr Scoones dismisses this argument and says he is backed by several studies from around the world.

He says it is now impossible to return to the previous set-up and even suggests that some of the evicted white farmers may one day work with the new farmers as consultants, marketing men, farm managers or elsewhere in the overall agricultural economy, such as transporting goods to market or helping to transform and add value to their produce.

Many of those who remain bitter about losing their land may are likely to respond: "Over my dead body".

But Mr Scoones says a surprising number are already taking this option and making reasonable money from it "under the radar".
Hawa ndio wazungu tayari wanacheza na akili zetu hapa..................hawa hawa si ndio walipiga kelele.....leo waseme it was not that bad after all!
sasa wazungu wanakubari kwamba land reform haikuwa failure kama jinsi bbc ilivyopenda sisituamini.Sasa BBC wameweka ukweli kwenye website yao wenyewe ingawa walikuwa wa kwanza kumponda Mugabe!
dunia ndo ilivyo
masikini atawekwa chini siku zote na nchi tajiri zita chukua advantage za nchi masikini....
utadhani nchi tajiri inataka kuku saidia lakini nia yao ni moja tu.....
sometime i m just wondering are we ever gona win against the riches????(Western countries)
Forget about wazunguz, this is the way to go Jongwe!

AT least Mugabe anaonekana anayo vision ya kimaendeleo. He understands the basic principles za uchumi kwamba nguvu za kiuchumi shurti umilikiwe na watu wengi ili kuwa na impact. Huwezi umkalinganisha Jongwe, pamoja na mapungufu na uzee wake, na akina 'dr.mkwere' and our other zombies.

Tujiazari na propaganda za BBC na CNN- they are sort sighted and biased in their repor.Ndio maan bbc walipigwa marufuku zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's new land barons

ZimOnline - Zimbabwe's Independent News Agency

by ZimOnline Investigations TeamTuesday 30 November 2010

HARARE -- President Robert Mugabe, his loyalists in ZANU-PF, cabinet ministers, senior army and government officials and judges now own nearly 5 million hectares of agricultural land, including wildlife conservancies and plantation land, seized from white commercial farmers since 2000, investigations by ZimOnline have revealed.

This means that a new well-connected black elite of about 2 200 people now control close to half of the most profitable land seized from about 4 100 commercial farmers.

Even though Mugabe has consistently maintained that his land reform programme is meant to benefit the poor black masses, it is him and his cronies who have got the most out of it, according to our three month long investigations.
ZimOnline can conclusively state that Mugabe and his second wife Grace, now own 14 farms, worth at least 16 000 hectares in size.

All ministers from Mugabe's ZANU PF in Zimbabwe's coalition government and ZANU PF deputy ministers are multiple farm owners. That probably explains why Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's determined push to have a new land audit done to uncover multiple farm owners has persistently hit a brickwall.

Mugabe's deputy Joyce Mujuru, alongside his influential husband, former army general Solomon Mujuru, and their relatives, own at least 25 farms with a combined hectarage of more than 105 000.

Critics who have consistently dismissed Zimbabwe's emotional land reforms as a political patronage programme by the octogenarian Mugabe to reward supporters who have kept him in power are right after all.

But the veteran leader insists the programme is meant to redress colonial imbalances and benefited the povo. Mugabe, whose agrarian reforms have been criticised by the West, says some 300,000 people have benefitted from the programme.
However, investigations by ZimOnline have shown that while at least 150,000 ordinary people may have had access to farms, the majority own between 10 and 50 hectares each after some of the huge farms were subdivided into small plots. But these ordinary people only accessed land on the strengths of their ZANU PF party membership cards.
With the notable exception of Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of a small splinter faction of the MDC, no high profile civil society and MDC officials have benefited from the land seizures.

But some 2,200 well connected people – Mugabe, his wife Grace, their top allies, friends and relatives -- have parcelled among themselves choice farms spanning from 250 hectares to as much as 4,000 hectares in the most fertile farming regions in the country, in clear violation of the government's own policy of capping farm sizes.

Land the size of Slovakia
Government documents and investigations show that Mugabe and his top allies control nearly 40 percent of the 14 million hectares of land seized from whites, which if put together are the size of Slovakia, with a population of 5.4 million people.
Before 2000, the 4,500 members of the largely white Commercial Farmers' Union and another 1,500 unaffiliated white farmers owned close to 15 million hectares of Zimbabwe's most arable land and wildlife conservancies.
A decade later, less than 400 white farmers remain on the land, with the rest expelled and their properties handed over to politically correct blacks.

And research, including examination of various government documents and audit reports show that the biggest beneficiaries of the land reform programme remain ZANU-PF members and supporters, security service chiefs and officers and traditional chiefs who have openly sided with Mugabe and senior government officials and judges.
Some top government officials have been fingered in three official audits as multiple farm owners, clearly thumping their noses at the government's own failed policy of "one man one farm".

The 86-year-old Mugabe and his young second wife, Grace, are the chief multiple farm owners, with 14 farms in total, including seven in his home province of Mashonaland West and in the agriculture rich district of Mazowe in Mashonaland Central.

The farms measure over 16,000 hectares – enough to build 160,000 medium density houses – and include a five-in-one 4,046-hectare property named Gushungo Estate in Darwendale near Mugabe's rural Zvimba home.
"This is a political programme camouflaged as land reform because it is clear that land has been transferred to high profile people and not the landless," John Worsley-Worswick from the vocal Justice For Agriculture (JAG) farmers pressure group said.

Another of Mugabe's deputies, John Nkomo is also a multiple farm owner. He now controls the lucrative Jijima wildlife sanctuary in north-west Zimbabwe after he muscled out a fellow black farmer.

Nkomo, who already owned another farm in Matabeleland, seized the Jijima lodge wildlife conservancy (size unkonwn) in north western Zimbabwe in defiance of a High Court order against him.

Asset stripping
Mugabe has not acted on the multiple farm owners, despite three government land audits which fingered top ZANU-PF officials and recommended that they return the farms.

Investigations show that for example Edna Madzongwe, Senate Speaker and a Mugabe relative has since 2000 seized six productive commercial farms in Chegutu district, Mashonaland West province, farms which she has all but run down.
These are Aitape, Cobun Estates, Bourne, Mpofu Farm, Reyden and Stockdale Farm, which she seized from an elderly white couple last year. The farms, which span 5,200 hectares in total, are all in Chegutu, some 100 kilometres west of capital Harare.

"Some of this can only be described as asset stripping because if you look at the farms now they are now in a derelict state and Madzongwe keeps hoping from one farm to another," said a white commercial farmer who lost his farm but declined to be named fearing victimisation.

Investigations also showed that top politicians have in the past years moved from one farm to another, stripping them of equipment and selling off the produce, which has seen some of them rich overnight.
But Madzongwe is only one of several high-ranking ZANU-PF officials who have more than one farm.

Governor's five farms
The president of the Chiefs' Council Fortune Charumbira has seized more than four farms in Masvingo measuring 6,600 hectares in total and Information Minister Webster Shamu owns Lambourne farm and Selous Tobacco Estates in Mashonaland West measuring 1,660 hectares.

A government audit carried in 2002 showed that former Mashonaland West provincial governor Peter Chanetsa at one point had five farms spanning 4,000 hectares, former Mines Minister and legislator Chindori Chininga, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo own or have owned multiple farms at some point.

"It is incumbent on the government and … ZANU-PF to quickly re-align the land reform programme implementation to the national land policy in order to reassert its credibility as a just and democratic programme to equitably redistribute the land in Zimbabwe and empower the indigenous people through land ownership," the audit report said.
Agriculture remains the mainstay of Zimbabwe's economy but production in the sector has plunged by 60 percent since 2000 when government-backed land invasions started.

Exports from the sector have fallen from $1.4 billion – 41percent of exports – in 2000 to nearly $700 million last year, after falling below $500 million in 2007, blamed largely on poorly equipped new black farmers and lack of farming inputs like seed and fertiliser.

But the downfall in agricultural output is also attributed in part to the fact that a huge chunk of some of the most productive and largest former white-owned commercial farms hoarded by senior Mugabe political allies are lying fallow either because the new owners are not that keen on farming or they simply abandoned the properties for new farms.

Gov't to seize excess land
Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Hebert Murerwa said while there were some people with multiple farms, these were very few and would be forced to give them up.

"The fact that a handful of people may have more than one farm does not detract from the overwhelming success of the land reform where the government has created 300,000 new farmers over the last ten years" Murerwa said.
While much has been said bout the failure of black villagers resettled on former white farms to feed Zimbabwe chiefly because they lack financial resources, little is said about the fact that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe went to great lengths -- including employing rather questionable methods such as printing money -- to try to fund the new farmers.

The central bank had between 2003 and 2008 pumped in $3 billion in the agriculture sector alone by printing money and raiding accounts of NGOs and exporters, to buy subsidised farming equipment, fuel, seed and fertiliser. But this has mostly benefitted influential Mugabe allies, some who are accused of selling inputs on the black market.
Malawi in comparison, which spend half the amount to support its farmers has grown to become a net food exporter, while Zimbabwe continues to plug a food deficit.

Political analysts say Mugabe has managed to ensure support from the key security service, including the army, police and central intelligence, by dishing out prime farms to commanders and senior officers.

The security forces
Of the nearly 200 officers from the rank of Major to the Lieutenant General in the Zimbabwe National Army, 90 percent have farms in the most fertile parts of the country. This is replicated in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Prisons Service, Air Force of Zimbabwe and CIO.

In total there are 400 officers in the security services alone who are known to have farms above 250 hectares, often seized at gun point from the previous white owners while several lower ranking officers and war veterans also have smaller holdings.

Constantine Chiwenga, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, who is among a cabal of Defence Forces chiefs who have publicly declared that they will only serve Mugabe, has two farms near Harare, including the 1,200 hectare Chakoma Estates, which his wife seized at gunpoint, telling a terrified white farmer that she lusted for white blood and sought the slightest excuse to kill him.

Perence Shiri, a veteran of the liberation struggle whose record was soiled during his command of an army crack unit in an insurgency crackdown in Matabeleland in early 1980s, has two farms, the 1,460 hectare Eirin farm in Marondera, which he seized after evicting 96 landless families and the 1,950 hectare banana producing Bamboo Creek in Shamva.
Augustine Chihuri, Mugabe's loyal Police Commissioner General owns Woodlands Farm (size unknown) in Shamva.
In the past year more than a dozen senior army and air force officers with have used armed soldiers to evict white commercial farmers.

In August last year Brigadier General Justin Mujaji evicted white farmer Charles Lock from his 376 hectare Karori farm in Headlands district east of Harare and defied several High Court orders, including one meant to allow Lock to take his tobacco and maize crop and equipment.

"Clearly there is a common thread here, where the military which is supposed to defend its citizens brazenly terrorises them in the name of land reform," said John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political lecturer and Mugabe critic.

Politburo and judges
All of ZANU-PF's 56 politburo members, 98 Members of Parliament and 35 elected and unelected Senators were allocated former white farms, all 10 provincial governors have seized farms, with four being multiple owners, while 65 percent of the country's more than 200 mostly partisan traditional chiefs have also benefited from the land reforms.
Sixteen Supreme Court and High Court Judges, including Chief Justice Chidyausiku, who owns the 1 000 hectare Estes Park farm in Mazowe/Concession district, also own large farms ranging between 540 to 1380 hectares.
Forty serving and former ambassadors have been allocated farms, with 70 percent of Parastatals bosses also owning large tracts of land.

Investigations have also revealed that Mugabe's personal banker and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono surprisingly does not own a farm given to him by government but has managed to buy four farms, including the prime 4,000 hectare Donnington farm in Norton he purchased in 2001.

Sources said Gono, who at the time was CBZ Holdings chief executive who personally authorised loans for senior government officials, bought the farms at knockdown prices from farmers who were under pressure from invaders to leave their properties.

"The white farmers have simply been replaced by a new black elite," said a source. But while the old white farmers regarded farming as a profession and most worked their land full time maintaining Zimbabwe as the bread basket of Africa , the Mugabe cronies who have replaced them largely fit the mould of what Mugabe himself has described as "mobile phone farmers".

They are largely responsible for converting Zimbabwe into a basket case as they have used their land more for weekend recreation.
Minister of State in Vice President Joyce Mujuru's office, Sylvester Nguni, himself a huge land owner, once accused his fellow ZANU PF officials of only acquiring vast swathes of land "for pride" as they had dismally failed to use their land many years after they seized it.

While most of the seized land controlled by these top Mugabe cronies continue to lie fallow, most of the poor peasants and small holder farmers in communal and other better areas account for most of the improvements in agricultural output last year.

In fact, the peasant farmers accounted for more than half of Zimbabwe's total maize production even before the mass evictions of white landowners who mostly focused on cash crops.

Sources say if the land reforms had been based on a transparent poverty alleviation thresholds and properly implemented with the right beneficiaries being selected and empowered without Mugabe's patronage considerations, the white farmers would largely have not been missed.

But even the 350 000 black farm workers, who many had thought would be among the initial targets or beneficiaries of land reforms were largely ignored.

Unconfirmed reports say many of the former farm labourers have died due to poverty after they were evicted alongside their former white employers. The few who remained on the farms have to content with the new black landowners who don't invest on the properties and pay them starvation wages. -- ZimOnline

*The list is not exhaustive as district land officers who have the knowledge of farm owners in any given district were in some cases unwilling to disclose such details for fear of possible reprisals.


R. MUGABE Gushungo Estates 4046ha Darwendale

Gushungo Dairies 1000ha Mazowe
Iron MasK 1046ha Mazowe
Sigaru Farm 873ha Mazowe
Gwebi Wood 1200ha Mazowe
Gwina Farm 1445ha Banket
Leverdale Farm1488ha Mazowe
Highfield 445ha Norton
Cressydale Estate676ha Norton
Tankatara 575ha Norton
Clifford 1050ha Norton
John O'Groat Farm760h Norton
Bassiville 1200ha Mazowe

S & M. MUJURU Alamein Farm 1300ha Beatrice

JOHN NKOMO Gijima Lodge xxx Hwange

SIMON KHAYA MOYO Marula Block 36 2034ha Bulilamangwe

Joseph Made Tara Farm 840ha Odzi
Emmerson Mnangagwa Sherwood Farm 1600ha Kwekwe
Francis Nhema Nyamanda 1000ha Karoi
Stanislaus Mudenge Chikore Farm 760ha Masvingo
Kembo Mohadi Jopembe Block 3000ha Beitbridge
Benlynian Range 3200ha Beitbridge

Patrick Chinamasa Tsukumai 800ha Headlands
Nyamazura 1260ha Rusape
Hebert Murerwa Rise Holm 1100ha Arcturus

Ignatius Chombo Allan Grange 3000ha Banket
Oldham 400ha Chegutu
Shingwiri 1600ha Chegutu
Webster Shamu Lambourne Farm 1340ha Selous
Tobacco Estate 900ha Chegutu
Obert Mpofu Young Farm 2300ha Nyamandlovu
Umguza Block 39, 40, 41 6200ha Umguza
Auchenberg 1026ha Nyamandlovu
Sithembiso Nyoni Fountain Farm 3100ha Insiza
Walter Mzembi BW Farm 720ha Masvingo

Nicholas Goche Ceres Farm xxx Shamva

Savior Kasukuwere Conucorpia Farm 100ha Mazowe
Harmony Farm 500ha Mazowe
Didymus Mutasa

Sydney Sekeramayi Maganga Farm 620ha Marondera
Edna Madzongwe Aitape Farm 2000ha Chegutu
Coburn Estates Plot 13A560ha Chegutu
Bourne Farm 445ha Chegutu
Mpofu Farm 1200ha Chegutu
Stockdale Farm 750ha Chegutu
Reyden Farm 1340ha

Constantine Chiwenga Chakoma Estates 1276ha Goromonzi
Perence Shiri Bamboo Creek 1950ha Shamva
Eirin Farm 1460ha Marondera
Augustine Chihuri Woodlands Farm xxx Shamva
Paradzayi Zimondi Upton Farm 1029ha Goromonzi
Happyton Bonyongwe Thetford Farm

Henry Muchena Serui Drift 1500ha Chegutu
Abu Basutu Swallowfork Ranch 2711ha West Nicholson
Elson Moyo Daisy Farm 1600ha Chegutu

Godfrey Chidyausiku Estes Park 895ha Concession
Luke Malaba Marula Block 35 1866ha Bulilamangwe
Paddington Garwe Faun Farm 760ha Chegutu
Antonia Guvava Harndale Farm 1000ha Chegutu
Mafios Cheda Marula Block 37 3039ha Bulilamangwe
Ben Hlatshwayo Kent Estate 800ha Norton
Charles Hungwe Little England 6956ha Makonde
Chitakunye Alfias The Grange 1300ha Chegutu

David Karimanzira Arcadia Farm 1300ha Marondera
Cain Mathema Gwayi Ranch 4600ha Gwayi
Umguza Block 3700ha Umguza
Chris Mushohwe Kondozi Farm 400ha Odzi

Titus Maluleke Clipshap Farm 3000ha Masvingo
Thokozile Mathutu Dete Valley Farm 2800ha Dete
Anthonia Extension6500ha Umguza
Angeline Masuku Wollendale Farm 3000ha Gwanda
Cephas Msipa Cheshire Farm 2100ha Gweru

Reward Marufu Leopards Vlei 1294ha Glendale
Kachere Farm 880ha Mazowe
Sabina Mugabe Mlembwe Farm 1037ha Makonde
Longwood Farm 924ha Makonde
Gowrie Farm 430ha Norton
Leo Mugabe Diandra 815ha Darwandale
Nangadza 1200ha Mhangura
Journey's End 3000ha Makonde
Patrick Zhuwao Marivale Farm 244ha Mazowe

George Charamba Battlefields 02 1572ha Kwekwe
Nathan Shamuyarira Mt Carmel xxx Chegutu
Bright Matonga Lions Vlei 2000ha Chegutu
Amos Midzi Magudu Ranch 10701ha Chiredzi
Dick Mafios Insingizi Farm 1100ha Bindura
Melfort 554ha Mazowe
Joseph Chinotimba Watakai 1240ha Mazowe
Happison Muchechetere Burry Hill Estate 617ha Makonde
Tobaiwa Mudede Ballineety 3147ha Nyabira
Austin Zvoma Chinomwe Estates 1432ha Makonde
Mariyawanda Nzuwa Stella Burton 425ha Mazowe
David Parirenyatwa Rudolphia 802ha Murewa
Charles Utete Rudzimi 3350ha Lomagundi
Paddy Zhanda Chipfumbi Meadows1364ha Goromonzi
Kisha mnadai waafrika tuna akili - lazima kuna kitu kwenye genes zetu, si bure!
Forget about wazunguz, this is the way to go Jongwe!

AT least Mugabe anaonekana anayo vision ya kimaendeleo. He understands the basic principles za uchumi kwamba nguvu za kiuchumi shurti umilikiwe na watu wengi ili kuwa na impact. Huwezi umkalinganisha Jongwe, pamoja na mapungufu na uzee wake, na akina 'dr.mkwere' and our other zombies.

The idea of land reform was good, but I think it was badly implemented. He simply replaced white farmers with mostly Shona cronies, some of whom went ahead to sell farm equipment and bought luxury vehicles instead.

He screwed up a country, all by himself.
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