Revelations that the farm, which the late musician Dick “Cde Chinx” Chingaira got at the height of the government’s fast-track land reform programme has been reduced into a wasteland make for sad, but instructive, reading.
But this is perhaps just a tip of the iceberg, as the probability is high that most of the farms that were forcibly taken from productive white commercial farmers are lying idle is high — nearly 20 years after the exercise, which has reduced Zimbabwe — the former jewel and bread basket of Africa — into no more than a basket case.
There have been several land audits carried out by the government to establish whether or not the farms were being used productively and have those that were being abused reclaimed and given to people, who would use them effectively for national benefit.
But the fact that this particular farm was just a “trophy” points to the ineffectiveness of the audits.
That Chinx had to beg for assistance from well-wishers at the height of his illness, while he had a potentially productive farm demonstrates that farming is an intensive, commercial enterprise that demands a business approach beyond the slogans and populism that accompanied the land redistribution exercise.
Many of the farms acquired are lying idle when, at their peak, there was production going on all-year round.
This demonstrates that even in years to come, a proper audit would still have to be done to give a true picture of what is happening at all the farms that were arbitrarily acquired by the government and corrective measures implemented.
Many of the farms fell victim to vandalism and theft, after which they were left to lie fallow with no or very little productivity going on because many of the new farm owners lacked the requisite experience and administrative skills to run the farms, but used the acquisition as an opportunity to gloat as farm owners.
Land is a precious national resource that must be used for the benefit of current and future generations.
All those, who are not using the farms for the nation’s benefit, must be kicked out and have the land given to those who will use it effectively for the benefit of the nation.