Yet again, Robert Mugabe’s regime defies all attempts to find anything redeeming about it.
Systemic land reform, including expropriation without compensation for the colonial farmers who’ve made millions from some of the most fertile land south of the Sahara – that’s a fine idea. But only as long as the land goes to the poor, that there are adequate agroecological training, support and extension services, and the displaced farm labourers from surrounding countries are given a good deal in the transition.
Has any of this, other than the expropriation happened? Has it bollocks. Well, okay, let’s be fair. Chances are that those who have received land are better off than when they were landless. I know of some families who are in a better position. I know of many who are worse off. And, if we look at the dynamics, it seems as if the peasants who were initially and loudly given the land are now being kicked off it. IOL has a story about Zimbabwean farm evictions which fits a much broader pattern. Industrial agriculture, and commercial agricultural capital, is getting far more support from the state than peasant farmers. And so now:
Hundreds of black peasant farmers were this week forcibly evicted from two formerly white-owned farms that they occupied during the 2000 land invasions, witnesses, civic groups and police said on Friday.
A witness said he saw scores of huts on fire after riot police had ordered all farmers without official permits to settle on the properties to vacate.
Police confirmed they were involved in the exercise to remove the farmers “who had imposed themselves”, on the farms situated about 50km north of the capital.
“Yes, we moved in to remove them and some of the houses were burnt in the process,” police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said in an interview.
‘We moved in to remove them and some of the houses were burnt in the process’
He said the farms were for ranching and not suitable for crop growing, yet all of the farmers who had settled on them had planted the land to maize and other food crops.
“Hundreds of new farmers and their families are stranded at Little England and Inkomo Farms after police torched and destroyed their huts following a government order to evict them,” said a coalition of human and civic rights organisations, Crisis in Zimbabwe.
Last week, Mugabe announced that the state was going to seize half of all mining resources in Zimbabwe. What’re the chances that mining communities are going to profit from any of this? Compare this to the odds of platinum revenues keeping Cde Mugabe in jet fuel for the next year.