Black farmers give land back

TENGWE - The scars of chaotic land reform have started to show in Mashonaland West as resettled peasant farmers have started to surrender land grabbed during the infamous land reform programme to former white commercial farmers.

Last week, the Mashonaland West Governor, Faber Chidarikire, and officials from the Lands Committee convened a meeting with new farmers in Chinhoyi and threatened to drive off the land all those who were contemplating leasing their land to former white commercial farmers. Farmers interviewed told this paper that Chidarikire openly told them that

Zanu (PF) was ready to discipline those who wanted to embarrass President Mugabe and reverse the gains of his so called Third Chimurenga.

“We have failed to utilize the land because we are not adequately resourced financial and materially. We have seen it fit to hand over the land to those who are productive to save our country from hunger and poverty. What’s the point in holding on to land you are not utilizing? It defies logic,” said one farmer who requested anonymity. Another farmer described the whole exercise as a flop and non-event saying some of them had never produced more than two tonnes from their eight hectare pieces of land.

Farmers also lambasted Chidarikire for targeting A1 farmers and leaving out top army officials who were the chief culprits in the leasing of land. “They want to target small fish leaving out top army officials who for a long time have been leasing their land for a fee. If no one is above the law why are they applying the law selectively?” complained another farmer. A former white commercial farmer confirmed that he was approached by a group of farmers who wanted to engage him on contract farming but declined to give further details.

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