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Order must be restored on farms

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It is disheartening that there is still so much chaos on the farms nearly 15 years after the land reform programme was launched.

NewsDay Editorial

Recent reports show that members of the ruling Zanu PF party are still fighting over what remains of commercial farms after almost all farm ownership was transferred from white to black farmers.

It is also interesting to note that in many instances senior politicians are fighting to grab land from black farmers who were allocated the land and have offer letters to prove it.

The rationale behind the land reform programme was that a colonial injustice where a few white farmers owned most of the fertile land while the majority blacks had no such land or lived on arid land was corrected.

That this imbalance had to be corrected is now beyond dispute and it is irreversible.

A decade and a half down the line Zimbabweans must have realised that the land now in their hands is a resource that can be used to turn around this country’s fortunes.

Many countries the world over have used commercial agriculture as the backbone of their economies. Zimbabwe itself, until the land reform programme, also based its economy on agriculture.

It is sad that our land in mostly in the hands of new farmers who are failing to use it productively. It is also sad that senior politicians are now flexing their muscles against weaker members of society by elbowing them out of the farms they got and using them reasonably well.

It is public knowledge that these senior politicians are multiple farm owners. It is also public knowledge that they have plundered the farms they acquired and are now on the prowl for other farms to desecrate in their unquenchable thirst for the low-hanging fruit.

There are also unnecessary new invasions of land set aside for other purposes than farming by undisciplined Zanu PF brigands. A recent example is the invasion of Mazwi Game Reserve outside Bulawayo and forestry estates especially in the Eastern Highlands.

Around major cities senior politicians are also trying to take over farms that have been allocated to co-operatives for home development. They have seen the opportunities these pieces of land present and due to their greed, would like to take over.

It is therefore necessary to acknowledge efforts by forward-thinking politicians to stop these maleficent farm invasions.

Zanu PF provincial chairperson for Bulawayo Callistus Ndlovu has distanced the party from the new land invasions declaring that his party was not engaged in any new land acquisition projects. The police should now move in to evict the invaders.

Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora too must be applauded for coming out clearly and firmly that order has to be restored on the farms. He has vowed that government would deal sternly with the lawlessness prevalent in the agricultural sector so as to improve productivity.

Land is an important resource that has to be used productively to contribute to the country’s economy.

It should not be held simply for its sentimental value.

It is, therefore, important that those holding the land, but leaving it fallow, have to be quickly kicked off and replaced by those willing and able to use it productively regardless of race.

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