It is over nine years since the chaotic land reform started in Zimbabwe. Nine years of Mugabe making public claims that the land grab was a natural progression of the path being trod by black Zimbabweans who had fought for freedom and democracy.
Mugabe has stated that the land grab is the returning of the land to the landless blacks.
Mugabe has stated that the land grab is empowering the black Zimbabwean with the ability to feed themselves and others.
In reality, the land grab is nothing more than Mugabe and his henchmen helping themselves to whatever land they want in the name of land appropriation. The land is not being ‘returned to the landless blacks’ – it is being parcelled out to those who don’t deserve the land, will not be working land and will reap the rewards of another’s labour.
As a direct result of the land grab, the agricultural sector within Zimbabwe has collapsed. There was a time when Zimbabwe could easily feed themselves – and exported the surplus.
Now, Zimbabwe is unable to even feed itself without some serious aid programmes – most of which Mugabe would like to control so that distribution will be based upon tribal and political lines.
I was deeply saddened to read over the weekend that the World Bank had availed Mugabe with US$7 million for ‘agricultural aid’. I expect that somehow Mugabe will muscle his way into the administration of these money – and distribution of seed will once again be tribal and political.
This announcement by the World Bank, came in the wake of Mugabe once again having a full blown go at the West.
“Who said the British and the Americans should rule over others? That’s why we say down with you. We have not invited these bloody whites. They want to poke their nose into our own affairs. Refuse that,” he said.
“We have stood stood firm and we have refused to let go. Zimbabwe, sanctions or no sanctions, Zimbabwe remains ours.”
The use of the word ‘ours’ would suggest that Mugabe has conceded ownership and control to be shared by others, but we know better. Mugabe, not that many years ago famously told former English premier, Tony Blair, “keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe”.
Not very much has changed since that utterance.
The land grab has come to Zimbabwe in many different guises – murder, abductions, beatings, theft, destruction – and, to the best of my knowledge, no one has yet to be prosecuted for any of these crimes.
Yes, the thrust may be political, but whether a crime is political or not, is no protection in the eyes of the law. Unless, of course, that law is virtually owned by ZANU PF.
Who wins in the end? The new ‘farmers’? The starving population? The commercial farmers that have lost their entire life’s work?
I don’t believe that the new land owners are winners, and I certainly don’t think that Mugabe’s ZANU PF are winners. The destruction of the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe has taken the country back probably the thick end of 100 years.
No one has won – and Zimbabwe, as a country and as a people, have all lost the bread basket of Africa – and the country is now the begging bowl of Southern Africa.
How very, very sad…
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man