Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's Not Land Ownership, It's Utilisation

It’s not land ownership, it’s utilisation!

By Jonathan Kadzura
Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

THE land reform programme, like the war of liberation, will never die away until total economic liberation is achieved.

The masses of Zimbabweans who fought for the liberation of this country will find their efforts well and conclusively rewarded not for themselves, but for their lineage and generations to come, only when the natural resources of this beautiful country become truly Zimbabwean, and this is exactly what the State President is persecuted for.

The land acquisition exercise is not and cannot be an event.

The world is watching to see if the country will navigate past the numerous landmines on this last stretch of our independence.

To the President, I must state categorically that even God’s only Son, Jesus, was sold for 30 pieces of silver.

Where is the Palestinian population today, again for 30 pieces of silver?

This scenario should not be allowed in Zimbabwe.

The war of liberation was fought on the principle of land recovery, hence the slogan “mwana wevhu”.

The slogan “one man one vote” in fact, meant not only recovering the land, but also the dignity of Zimbabweans.

Do you wish to remember how we were cheated out of our land through sweets and mirrors?

Now cash and cars have replaced the sweets and glasses.

The Fifth Zanu-PF National People’s Congress recently passed a strict and binding resolution that the land resettlement programme is irreversible and can never be reversed.

How practical and how right! This resolution is not and cannot be negotiated.

Zanu-PF must stand steadfast on this God-given principle and at the same time abide by its people-oriented inclination that the masses are the people and that leadership only represents those masses.

This President Mugabe so eloquently put across at the Congress.

It was not only clear but also embarrassing for those who thought that leadership was about people for leadership and not leadership for the people.

That is why the President clearly put it across that leadership must come from the people and that whoever emerges as a leader must, in fact, represent the people.

This is democracy, so he added, to applause from delegates attending the Congress. It is evident that the land reform was people-driven and not Government-driven.

The people in Chief Svosve’s realm were the first to demand their land back. This was just out of frustration.

They felt that after waging the war of liberation, the country had only obtained political leverage, something that meant very little to the people.

The traditional leadership was, in fact, fast in reminding the political leadership that the war was not for important podiums but for our land.

That is why the people — and not Government or the law — led calls for land redistribution.

Both the Government and the law came in the wake of what communities or society had determined.

After the people opened this door, society also expects the politicians and the law to put sufficient and fair instruments in place to govern land occupation and land utilisation.

I am one concerned. Why should millions of hectares of land go to waste because the land is under legal instruments that prohibit newly resettled farmers from getting on with the farming business?

Also the original settler farmer plants nothing because his tenure is equally undetermined.

The net liability in this case lies on the ordinary Zimbabwean who goes hungry because nobody worked the land.

Who gets the blame for this fiasco? Zanu-PF!

In my view, this situation requires an urgent solution and it is easy to get it if only we all work for a common objective.

Ask me.

Now I hear and read that US$31 million will be spent on yet another land audit.

What is it that the past three land audits failed to reveal that must now be unearthed by United States dollars?

What good would that money have made had it been channelled towards the purchase of agricultural inputs or to the private sector?

It is a total waste because all the information required is gathering dust on shelves.

But is the project about land really about the person or the personalities?

Kenya may have answers to these questions.

In my view, we should never wait for other people to show us our mistakes and move on to correct them for us.

The country should rather find out its own mistakes and move on to correct them.

This capacity we have — also another God-given resource in us.

The issue of multi-farm ownership must be openly discussed.

Is the question about how many farms a man holds or how much land is going to waste because nobody is working the land?
Greed is when one sits on a lot of land and never uses it.

If one man has 10 000 hectares of land that is actively producing food and raw materials for the nation, that man again, in my view, must be persuaded to get more land from the lazy people sitting on 100 hectares of land.

I think the issue should be about land utilisation and not ownership.
Some of us prefer being in factories producing yoghurts and chocolates, but the raw materials must be available.

Indeed, everyone is entitled to a piece of land. That is why we have the A1 scheme that may be considered as social or subsistence farming.

Commercial farming must be released to a lot of land and should be allowed to grow openly.

There is another side of the coin where only limited hectares are allowed per individual.

This practice is prevalent in some South American states and the Nordic countries.

The question whether we can measure up to this requirement and whether our circumstance is such that we need similar standards must be fully explored.

At the end of the day, let us not set our bars too high in a manner that turns them into moral impediments to what we need to achieve as a nation.

Again, I am only opening debate on these fundamental issues so that we can bury the idea of tracts of land that are not being used.
As usual, it is time for the family and today lunch is sadza and muboora unedovi. How Zimbabwean!

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