Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Land reform chaos continues in Zimbabwe

Land reform chaos continues in Zimbabwe

By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 August 2012

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) have reported that a group of about 200 
ZANU PF activists invaded a farm on Wednesday which belongs to the principal 
director in the Prime Minister’s Office, Norman Sachikonye. ZPP officials 
who witnessed the incident said the invaders were singing and dancing to 
ZANU PF liberation war songs and wearing party regalia.

Sachikonye is also an aspiring parliamentary candidate for Makoni Central in 
the MDC-T. The invaders were allegedly under the leadership of Darlington 
Museka, acting secretary at the Rusape Town Council and a ZANU PF cadre.

A monitor for the ZPP reported that police officers at the scene did not 
interfere or do anything to stop the invaders, who proceeded to peg Zimati 
Kop Farm “haphazardly” and allocated stands to themselves.

The chaos on Zimbabwe’s commercial farms has intensified in recent weeks, 
with ZANU PF officials fighting for control of the last remaining farms in 
the country.
Some observers believe the rush to claim land ownership is directly linked 
to provisions in the new draft cconstitution.

Chiredzi farmer Gerry whitehead agreed. He told SW Radio Africa that there 
is chaos in the Chiredzi conservancies and the coalition government has lost 
complete control of the farms in his area, the lowveld.

“The ZANU PF chefs know there is no law and order so they can do whatever 
they like. We are disappointed because we thought things would get better 
under the coalition. But the MDC-T have also lost the plot and conceded to 
ZANU PF over land,” Whitehead said, referring to clauses in the draft 

Section 16.4 of the draft, relating to the “rights of occupiers of 
agricultural land”, says any person who was occupying land or was entitled 
to use it “by virtue of a lease or other agreement” with the State, 
continues to be entitled to use or occupy that land after the effective date 
of the new Constitution.

Experts say this essentially protects invaders who are taking land from its 
rightful owners now, using fake “offer letters” that are signed by district 
land officials who have no authority to make such decisions. Whitehead said 
this is one of the reasons people are shocked that the MDC-T signed the 

Meanwhile other rows over land are being played out around the country. In 
one case, nine families are reported to be homeless and sleeping in the open 
after an officer from the Airforce of Zimbabwe destroyed their homesteads 
with a tractor.

The incident followed claims by the officer, Dananai Chikanya, that he was 
allocated the property at Edinburgh Farm near Chitungwiza in 2008, as part 
of the land reform exercise. Chikanya told Newsday newspaper that he evicted 
the families because they were settled on the farm by a rival from the MDC 

The families have denied Chikanya’s claims, saying the Chitungwiza Area 
Board resettled them at the farm in 2002. According to Newsday, some of the 
villagers said Chikanya pointed a gun at them when he came to bulldoze their 
homes with his wife.

In another row over land, Chief Zvimba is reportedly trying to evict 31 
farmers from land they occupy at Lion Kopje Farm in Mashonaland Central, 
saying they were allocated land elsewhere and have refused to move there.

But the resettled farmers filed papers at the High court last week seeking 
to block the Chief from evicting them. They claim that the land was 
allocated to them in 2004 under the A1 land resettlement scheme.

The farmers were notified of their pending eviction on August 6th and were 
given just ten days to pack their belongings and move. Chief Zvimba, through 
his lawyer, is asking the High Court to dismiss the application by the 
farmers, arguing that their continued stay is illegal since they were 
officially granted land elsewhere.

It was hoped the creation of the coalition government would bring a sense of 
law and order to the so-called land reform exercise. But officials from the 
MDC formations have found themselves powerless to change anything, with some 
even getting embroiled in the chaos, as the Sachikonye case has revealed.


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