Revolving door agric policy makes my head spin

BY MAGAISA IBENZI
WARD 12, PARIRENYATWA HOSPITAL, HARARE - I am not well again this week, my dear readers. My head is spinning all the time. I am so dizzy. It must be from watching all this revolving door activity in the agricultural industry in this country. I am really battling to understand


the convoluted land reform programme of our illustrious president and his cowboy ministers.
Let me go back to the beginning. We were told the white farmers had stolen the land from our ancestors and therefore they had to go. The fact that they had given money to Tsvangirai and lent their tractors to transport people to vote No in the 2000 referendum had nothing to do with this ancient theft that now needed to be put right.
So the war vets and the landless peasants were told to invade these farms and take what rightly belonged to them. Tormented, beaten and even killed, the white farmers were driven off their lands. Certain choice properties were set aside for the chefs who lined their pockets by harvesting existing crops and selling off valuable machinery and equipment.
After a year or so, these obedient invaders were once again made landless. They were told to go back where they had come from. Everybody in Zimbabwe has a rural home, they were told. The reason? They were not farming successfully. Those who resisted these instructions from above had their homes torched, their dogs shot and their goats stolen by the security forces.
Zanu (PF) chefs, cronies, and a coterie of army and police chiefs were now the new farmers. These ‘new farmers’ proceeded to make a small fortune selling firewood, hunting concessions and meat.
During the following few years, agricultural production declined dramatically. Six years later, with the country on its knees, even Zanu (PF) has got it into its thick head that these guys are not farmers. They might be party faithfuls – but that does not make them successful farmers. What to do? It’s a crisis.
Minister Didymus Mutasa comes up with a brainwave. Conduct a survey and find out who is a really farmer and who is not. (By the way, he himself is not. He is a trader of agricultural equipment. He has made a fortune stealing and selling equipment from invaded farms.) But anyway …
Next thing we heard was that consultations between Mutasa and the CFU had led to a change of heart and 200 white farmers were being invited back to farm the land on a 99-year lease so that we could all eat again. “They are Zimbabweans like everybody else,” the state media reported Mutasa as saying, to everyone’s great amazement and profound relief.
Meanwhile, some other white farmers – who had managed to cling on to their land through all this by one means or another – were that same week evicted by Zanu (PF) mobs acting on instructions from above.
No sooner had the 200 white farmers begun to make plans to move back, than Mutasa appeared in the press again – this time denying any deal with white farmers. They are not Zimbabweans after all, we were told. No wonder I am feeling so dizzy!
Even MuJubheki is not his usual self. What has really confused him is all these new plans which Zanu (PF) has dreamt up and announced with great fanfare: we have MERP- Millennium Economic Recovery Plan; NERP- New Economic Recovery Plan; a Ten-point Plan; NERP 2, a TNF – Tripartite Negotiating Forum; and now a NERC (National Economic Recovery Council). He says they forgot to mention the TWERP, the guy running the country, and the NERD (National Economic Run Down). I worry about him.

War vets - long past 'sell-by' date
Killing the golden goose - through incompetence and greed

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