Grasping govt stance on land reform crucial

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OF LATE there has been a wave of interpretations of the government’s stance on land reform, with most suggesting the President Emmerson Mnangagwa administration is reversing one of the key gains of the post-independence era.

Although the government has been very clear on what is currently happening, there is a deliberate ploy to misinform the public to gain cheap political mileage. Traditionally, the MDC never supported the land reform programme when it took place around 2000.

However, in a stunning volte-face, they are today some of the most vocal in claiming that the Zanu PF government is reversing it.

For the MDC, the current issues surrounding land seem to provide an opportunity to slam Zanu PF, but obviously this is being done from positions bereft of proper conceptualisation of what is going on.

The MDC is not without support in their current stance. Keen to cling on to the late Robert Mugabe’s legacy, the G40, a faction of Zanu PF that was vanquished during the 2017 coup, has found a new and possibly last opportunity to criticise Mnangagwa’s government. But then, Zimbabweans are not naïve. They are some of the sharpest minds on the continent and will definitely want to question why these groups are taking these positions now.

It is important to note that funding has always been the major stumbling block for compensation for improvements on farms, a programme that has always been on the cards.

The programme also stalled because improvements on farms in Matabeleland regions were minimal as cattle ranching demanded very little infrastructure like perimeter fences, drinking and feeding troughs for the livestock and dams on selected properties.

On the other hand, farms in other regions of the country had irrigation infrastructure and several other improvements consistent with crop production.

Some properties covered under Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (Bippas) had unfortunately been occupied during the land reform programme, sparking conflicts with several countries, are also set to be restored to their former owners once the government is convinced this will not upset existing social setups.

What the government is merely doing is righting some of the wrongs made during the processes at the turn of the millennium.

The Mnangagwa government cannot be nailed for doing something that would contribute towards the normalisation of relations with the previously hostile nations mainly in the European Union and the United States.

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