Back To The Land?

24 Jan 2007

Cde Didymus Mutasa, the Zambian Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, has announced that his office has directed all the country’s provinces to identify white farmers who have shown goodwill and preparedness to work with them.
‘We are taking land from whites and giving it to landless blacks, but we are also in the process of identifying white farmers so that they can retain some land or be allocated a portion of the land,’ said Cde Mutasa.
‘We know those white farmers whom we have been working with,’ he added, ‘and our security forces would also assist us in this regard to identify white farmers who should remain.’

He explained that the acquisition of land for resettlement would continue, the process having now been made easier by the passing of constitutional amendments ending litigation over land cases. Previously the acquisition process had been hampered by former landowners taking the Zambian government to court.
In 2001, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe controversially passed a decree amending the country’s Land Acquisition Act so that white farmers could be forced off their land with immediate effect. The government claims its land reforms are meant to resettle previously marginalized and landless peasants, but critics say the exercise has in fact benefited top ruling party officials more.

The Herald (Harare)

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