Command Agriculture compounds State capture

The announcement by the head of the Air Force of Zimbabwe that Command Agriculture will continue, concerns the MDC Alliance.

By Jacob Mafume ,MDC national spokesperson

The announcement was made through an extra-legal institution with no such mandate; addition of de-facto responsibilities to the military is not only a violation of the Constitution, but compromises any efforts at institutional reform in Zimbabwe. We are also concerned with the implementation of the scheme through murky institutions, which will not be accountable to the people of Zimbabwe through Parliament.

State control of economic and social matters as an approach is a failed and archaic model, which chokes creativity and stinks of rent-seeking interests. As a model, it is also opposite and contradictory to the so-called “open for business” slogan which, of course, is already suffering from lack of a supporting plan.

The MDC Alliance is fully conscious of the background of Command Agriculture, it started off as a factional project, driven by the Lacoste frontman Emmerson Mnangagwa. It was clear then, as it is now, that it is a version of State capture in Zimbabwe.

The cancer reached unacceptable levels, with over $250 million spent on the project: the MDC Alliance refers to official figures released by the Treasury in its latest fiscal statement. It is clear from the statement that Command Agriculture is one of the biggest drivers of the ballooning national debt. It is, therefore, shocking to learn of its continuation even before the 2019 budget is presented.

We take this opportunity to remind those driving the programme that it is only Parliament which must approve appropriation laws. Any announcement from powerful oligarchs is undue influence on parliamentarians and compromises the right to representation for the people of Zimbabwe.

The MDC Alliance is aware that the 2017 version of Command Agriculture was implemented in collaboration with Sakunda Holdings representing the interests of Trafigura. There is a likelihood that as State capture continues, the same culprits will enter into another murky agreement with government.

The Agriculture ministry will remain bystanders, while the military will be at the core of its implementation against the dictates of the Constitution.

Government runs a budget through the consolidated revenue fund, from which all legitimate activities of the State must draw resources.

Our biggest concern is that the financing of Command Agriculture is done parallel to the legal framework of the consolidated revenue fund, of which oversight is in the hands of the people of Zimbabwe through their elected representatives in Parliament.


Command Agriculture eliminates the role of Public Accounts Committee and the Budget Committee, which are important committees in respect of expending tax payers’ money.

The bypassing of these committees is the reason why the Auditor-General’s report revealed a plethora of irregularities.

The terms and conditions of the loan extended by Sakunda Holdings are, up to now, unknown. The interest rates are obscure and the time frames a mystery. With this backlog of problems, the people of Zimbabwe cannot be taken for a ride by allowing an extension.

Under normal circumstances, institutions set out by the Constitution to combat corruption must come into action. It is apparent that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is also a captured institution, which ironically turns a blind eye to the massive rot within the State.

The MDC Alliance will deal with this issue in Parliament and in the streets. The time for games is coming to an end. Zimbabweans must come on board; collectively we can stop the rot.

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7 Comments

  1. All government institutions are captured but for how long will they capture them now that industry is charging exorbitantly in bond notes and cheaply in US dollars. They can incentivise the army. What about the police, teachers, nurses etc. How are they going to fund local authorities and their cash cow Zinara who are going to be the dust bins of bond notes which they insist is equivalent to the US$.

  2. Masamba ndiwo mamwe

    Great piece VaMunyori. Although we had good harvests pazvakatanga Command Agriculture’s vagueness on areas of interest rates and the actual amount allocated stinks of corruption and state capture by Individuals hiding under the name of Trafigura. This thing needs to be explicitly laid out in parliament coz now we knowthey are using treasury Bills to fund Command and that must be factored in the budget.

  3. Command agric was initiated when it was observed that banks were not giving agric loans. Now,if you go to GMB you get your command farming inputs not Barracks. The fact that the Minister is a Rtd ACM, does not mean that its soldiers’ programme. Rtd Mbrs of the force are re-employed in gvts world over. Accountability yes, but this programme is one of the best. Agriculture should be sponsored by anyone. MDCA you always want to see people hungry, why? why? why? you want mandate fm hungry and helpless zims.

  4. How can command agriculture be led by people who do not have the expertise? Army is commanding agriculture yet we have trained personnel to carry out that duty. When the extension workers were doing their work everything was working well now that the soldier is carrying out the duty of an extension worker everything had gone bad. Regai madhumeni aite basa rawo please and let the soldiers do their military work.

  5. If agriculture is supposed to be sponsored by anyone, then you should go to open tender, right? Ultimately it’s tax payers money being used. Avoidance of the open tender process under the guise of “national security issue” is a lame & corrupt excuse. If ZACC was not in the “captured” category it should be seized with such glaringly corrupt practices.

  6. Please MDCA stop the naivety, farmers can be given loans in form of cash (banks), inputs(companies-seed, fertiliser, GMB, trafigura, you etc) or implements-mechanisation(john Deer etc). Farmers are not forced to deal with any of them, its their business choice. Any company can partner with government institutions to implement a private project for citizens, this includes the army, police, GMB, hospitals and other parastatals. No PUBLIC FUNDS involved so why parliament?
    Parliament can only come in to review the contracts if citizens are short changed. Our courts can deal with any contract dispute for citizens.
    Tell us MDCA exactly where the farmers are short changed by the command project? it seems the farmers are so happy to have all forms of investment for them.
    MDCA must come out with their private projects that benefit the farmers, if such projects are well implemented definitely farmers will vote for them, NO farmer will vote for the MDCA if they live to criticize independent projects that are benefiting those who chose to work with command agriculture, MDCA should stop the mantra of sanctions always as this clearly shows how they want to decapitate the farmer so once hungry they foolishly think will vote for MDCA as government protest vote. Most MDCA farmers like VP Welshman Ncube are benefiting from farms and command agriculture

  7. “The announcement by the head of the Air Force of Zimbabwe that Command Agriculture will continue…..” This sounds so ridiculous that it could surely only be written by Lewis Carroll?
    What next? Farmers flying fighter jets?

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