'Revisit Zim Land Reform' - Crisis Coalition Spokesperson urges the Inclusive government

The Government of Zimbabwe should revisit the controversial land reform programme through a land audit. The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Spokesperson, Mr Thabani Nyoni said this while addressing 300 people during a Crisis Debate on the Constitution on the 6th of October in Gweru. He said the Land Audit is the only solution towards addressing productivity and property rights concerns.

Mr Thabani Nyoni, said the formulation of a new constitution was one of the key deliverables of the GNU, but there were many other important reforms that needed attention, such as the National Land Audit which has not been commenced since the consummation of the Inclusive Government.

The Spokesperson said the controversial land redistribution exercise which was purportedly undertaken to address past colonial injustices around land ownership in the country through a campaign dubbed the "Third Chimurenga", had created "land owners, rather than farmers". He said that this was the reason why Zimbabwe continues to suffer from food insecurity

"There is still need to undertake the Land Audit which is provided for in the GPA to examine who owns the productive land now, as well as to appraise ourselves as a country on what they are doing with it. If they are not good at farming, then that's why we are having intermittent food shortages when we have so many hectares of arable land in the country. Government would then need to address that," emphasised Mr Nyoni.

Article 5.9 (a) of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) requires the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe to:

"Conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit, during the tenure of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe, for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownership."

However, Mr Thabani Nyoni said the land audit should not only seek to achieve single farm ownership, but must also focus on ensuring productivity.

Other commentators over the past years like South African human rights icon and Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that Zimbabwe's violent and chaotic land reform had moved the country from being the breadbasket of the Southern Africa into a basket case, meaning that Zimbabwe had been reduced to begging for grain from other countries.

Meanwhile, another analyst Cathy Buckle wrote,

"Spending a few minutes looking through the 421 farms listed for Compulsory Acquisition in The Herald on June 22, 2001, less than 36 percent of the properties have Deed of Transfer dates before 1980, For example 2643/90 shows the Deeds changed ownership in 1990".

Buckle further argued, "These were purchases made only after receipt of the required "Certificate of No Interest" from the Government of Zimbabwe." She concludes that this evidence "disproves the widely believed myth that every white person on a farm got that land by unfair, racist or discriminatory means prior to 1980".

The land reform program has come under attack from many local and international analysts for promoting gross human rights violations and causing food insecurity in the country due to poor productivity by the new land owners. In November 2008, the disbanded SADC tribunal ruled that the land reform in Zimbabwe was racist. Since the formation of the GNU in February 2009, Zimbabweans have called for a comprehensive national land audit as provided for in the GPA to address these concerns, but to no avail.

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