Land grab took one million homes, jobs – UNDP

HARARE - At least one million people lost their livelihoods and homes as result of Mugabe's controversial farm seizure programme, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said in a report released at the weekend.

The report highlights the difficulty Zimbabwe’s incoming power-sharing government faces in tackling the emotive land issue. It says some 320 000 workers, 25 percent of the country’s labour force, were employed on commercial farms before the chaotic programme to seize white farmland for redistribution to Zanu (PF) cronies and security force personnel.

“In the aftermath of the land invasions over 200 000 farm workers and their families — an estimated one million people –lost their livelihoods and homes, as well as access to farm schools and other social amenities,” the UNDP said.

The report notes that since 2000 wheat production has declined from about 270 000 tonnes in 1998 to 62 000 tonnes in 2007 – falling well short of the national requirement of 350,000 tonnes per year. Production of maize has also plummeted.

Meanwhile, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal last week reserved judgment on an application by a group of Zimbabwean white farmers against the seizure of their land by the government.

The tribunal said it withheld a ruling in order to study objections submitted by Zimbabwean government lawyers, but did not say when exactly the judgment would be delivered.

The regional court had temporarily barred the Harare government from confiscating land belonging to 77 white farmers pending the outcome of an application by the farmers challenging the legality of land reforms

The white farmers wanted the Tribunal to declare Mugabe’s controversial land reform programme racist and illegal under the SADC Treaty.

Article 6 of the regional treaty bars member states from discriminating against any person on the grounds of gender, religion, race, ethnic origin and culture. – ZimOnline.

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