War vets frustrated by land reform – Report

via War vets frustrated by land reform – Report – The Zimbabwean 2 February 2015

Despite spearheading the fast track land redistribution exercise, war veterans still face challenges in producing from the plots they acquired under the programme.

This emerged in a January 2015 pilot study carried out by the Zimbabwe Liberation Platform (ZLP) on the impact of the fast track programme on war veterans’ livelihoods.

From 2000, the war veterans led militia onto farms owned by white commercial farmers and forcefully removed around 5,000 of them under the guise of resettling land-hungry Zimbabweans.

The study that was carried out around Masvingo found out that war veterans were underutilizing the land they received, with only 18 percent of the farmland being put to use.

According to the study report, the war veterans in Masvingo mostly used their hectarage for maize and sugar production and owned an insignificant number of cattle.

The ZLP said the underutilisation of the land was due to a variety of factors, among them poor support from government.

“The current small-scale farmers face a host of difficulties in farming. Most respondents talked of lack of support from government…and difficulties in securing inputs and commodities needed.

“The gains that have been made by new farmers have been done so with almost no support from the state or government, and the war veterans in this study attest to this situation. Yet it is also clear that the majority of the sample found farming very difficult and securing livelihood problematic,” reads the report.

Because of a combination of physical factors such as aridity and difficulties in tilling the land, 60 percent of the farmers attested to being food insecure.

Forty percent of them relied on pensions and remittances for survival.

Because of this, 40 percent of the war veterans in Masvingo felt that the land reform programme was unsuccessful.

“(45 percent of the) respondents also stated that if offered alternative forms of livelihood, other than farming, that they would take that opportunity and leave the farm,” added the report.

The study indicates that the affected war veterans are frustrated with the land reform exercise.

“A number of the war veterans interviewed in Masvingo stated that they had invested all of their income and spare capital in the farm, and that, even if they wanted to leave, they had no resources to do so. In essence, they felt trapped on the land they occupied with little hope of making it productive,” said ZLP.

This frustration and disillusionment, said the platform, was shared by a large population of Zimbabweans in South Africa and other neighbouring countries who would rather find other means of subsistence than though farming.

“What these tentative findings point to is that there are current beneficiaries of land reform who are not particularly happy on the land and are looking for alternative forms of livelihood. Such admissions have interesting policy implications.

“For example, if the state was to offer these people some return for the land they currently occupy, and these packages were accepted, land could be made available for others to farm or lease, be they commercial entities or other land hungry populations, rural or urban,” said ZLP.


  • comment-avatar
    Charles Frizell 9 years ago

    Surprise, surprise!!!!

    Put thugs and tsotsis on productive farms – and then wonder why they fail?

    Did anyone ever visit previous “resettlement areas”? I did – and all I saw was weeds and a few goats.

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    Nyoni 9 years ago

    Had “commonsense” prevailed instead of hatred , the government could have simply reduced the white farm size to accomodate the “masses” and still have production maintained and all else still moving on. But that was only a pipe dream for most. You see ZanuPF are mere thugs and nothing more.

    • comment-avatar

      the land reform could have been a huge success, but instead it has been a huge failure. it will come to be considered as one of the great opportunities lost under mr magus’s self serving leadership.

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    Big Chitoro 9 years ago

    we dont feel pity for these murderers. they were used to murder fellow zimbabweans who did not agree with their and zanu approach to governance and democracy! we can not even support them with out tax contributions.they must suffer this lot! mhondi dzevanhu!

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    Kariba 9 years ago

    There is no real equivalent in English to the German schadenfreude but in this case that is what I feel.

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    Adam Jones 9 years ago

    You see, farms were taken to prevent the white farmers from supporting and funding the MDC. When Tswangirai came on TV accepting cheques from donors who included white farmers – that was it!!the CIO led war vets and other gallible youths to chase the white farmers. By crediting war vets with leading the invesions, we credit the likes of Chinotimba with inteligence that can never be found under his straw hat. After that zanu outlaw foreign fundind for political parties – even though they continued to receive funding from their foreign friends. After they had chased most of the white farmers, we saw a wave of greedy zanu multiple farm bigwigs displacing some newly crowned black farmers to extend their own territory. Grace is still at it in Mazowe so we hear. In short, farms were taken to choke the MDC and not so that they may be more productive. Go back to 1999-2000 and follow the history through.