via Zanu PF assault on economy alarming – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 11, 2015
The renewed invasion of commercial farms and mines by Zanu PF supporters will put any prospects of economic recovery in the near future into serious doubt.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been in the doldrums for over a decade now because of the ruling party’s propensity to self-destruct.
President Robert Mugabe was facing the real prospect of losing power when he let loose war veterans who pillaged commercial farms and murdered law-abiding citizens in 2000.
The poorly-planned land reform programme came at a huge cost for the agriculture-based economy and led to Zimbabwe’s isolation by the international community.
Mugabe has consistently justified the mayhem by saying he was correcting a colonial imbalance.
However, that excuse cannot justify 15 years of a chaotic land reform programme when vast tracts of unproductive land in the hands of Zanu PF supporters is lying fallow.
According to reports last week, Zimbabwe is expected to import 700 000 tonnes of maize this year after a poor 2014-15 season.
The country’s maize harvest dropped by 49% after half of the crop was written off.
This will increase the burden on Treasury, which is already struggling to pay civil servants and has virtually stopped financing capital projects.
One of the reasons there was such massive crop failure is because the country’s irrigation infrastructure has been run down by the so-called new farmers.
Reports that Zanu PF supporters are forcefully taking over productive farms and mining operations across the country raise a lot of questions.
On Saturday, we reported that members of the Zanu PF youth and women leagues were taking over commercial farms and mines.
The ruling party supporters reportedly seized Caledonia farms in Guruve and attempted to take over Eureka Gold Mine.
Such lawlessness has become endemic in Beitbridge where police and government officials are accused of working in cahoots with criminals in the name of land reform.
The case of Ian Ferguson, who has been trying to ward off illegal invaders from his Denlynian Game Ranch, demonstrates that the wheels have come off in as far as the justice system is concerned.
Ferguson says he has lost close to $1 million in revenue, while fighting the invaders whose stay on the game farm has been declared unlawful by the courts.
Instead of protecting the investment at the game sanctuary, the government has punished the farmer further by parcelling out his citrus farm also in Beitbridge.
Benfer Estate was one of the top employers in Matabeleland South and a vital cog in the economy.
This madness has been an albatross for the national economy for far too long.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s desperate efforts to woo international capital will come to naught as long as there is no law and order on commercial farms.
Investors will not pour their money in an economy where their property rights are not guaranteed despite all the propaganda about the so-called mega deals with countries such as Russia and China.
Mugabe and his party should stop being selfish and start putting in place conditions that will aid the recovery of the economy they have been battering for the past three decades.
Zimbabwe is in a really bad space and we cannot afford repeating the same mistakes we made 15 years ago.
Mugabe has a responsibility to call his errant supporters to order and he has the capacity and means to do that.