Source: Property rights handbook launched – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 3, 2017
THE controversy dogging Zimbabwe’s property rights has come back in the spotlight, with the recent launch of a property rights handbook commissioned by German non-governmental organisation, Friedrich-Naumman-Stiftung (FNS).
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The country has since 2000 had a soiled property rights record following the launch of its controversial land reform programme, which left over 4 000 white former commercial farmers dispossessed of their farms.
The farms were subsequently allocated to at least 140 000 indigenous farmers without security of tenure.
The book, launched on Wednesday under the title The Role of Property Rights in Climate Variability and Change — A Zimbabwe Experience: 1980-2016, analyses the relationship between property rights and the caring of the environment.
FNS senior officer, Fungisai Sithole said they had observed few people take responsibility in conserving the environment in places where they had no rights or ownership.
“There is a general lack of care of environment if people have no control or ownership. This is clear in areas where farmers have title deeds. They conserve forests and manipulate natural resources responsible unlike when they are not sure for how they will be in an area,” she said.
Sithole added FNS advocated for recognition of private property rights as an integral part of global liberal agenda.
“It is for this reason that FNS Zimbabwe commissioned a study into and published a book on property rights. Of great significance is how this subject relates to the issue of climate change given that weather extremes and tenure do have a bearing on Zimbabwe’s economic growth,” she said.
Many farms were ransacked of movable property like irrigation pipes, pumps and building materials in the period soon after white commercial farmers were evicted, leaving no one with responsibility to look after the property.
The book came out at a time the government was working out the modalities of implementing 99-year leases to resettled farmers that were meant to give farmers security of tenure and collateral to borrow funds from banks.