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Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Programme receives a thumps up from African Foreign Ministers

Wednesday 11 July 2001

THE ruling ZANU-PF’s vision based on the fact that land is the one and only 
economic fundamental that defines every nook and cranny of our economy 
and society received a thumps up this week from African foreign ministers 
attending the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in Lusaka Zambia.
The ministers attacked Britain, the former colonial master for reneging on 
its colonial obligations to fund the country’s land reform programme. 

African leaders gathered in Lusaka to transform the OAU to an African Union (AU)-a giant, 
continent-wide bloc aimed at moving Africa into a modern era of peace and development.   
The AU would have its own parliament, executive and transnational laws and bring closer 
economic ties and political stability to African countries among other things. 

The President and First Secretary of the ruling party, ZANU-PF Cde Robert Mugabe was 
praised for his commitment and stance on the land issue. The ministers noted with concern 
Britain’s moves to mobilise European and North American countries to isolate and vilify 
Zimbabwe.  The foreign ministers condemned Britain for refusing to honour commitments 
to help fund land reform it had made during negotiations preceding Zimbabwe's 1980 

Britain, which pledged to fund the land reform exercise in 1980, delivered some of the money 
before freezing the fund in 1990. This made it very difficult for the ZANU-PF government to 
resettle landless Zimbabweans.  The reason given was that Zimbabwe had violated the 
agreement by forcing unwilling farmers to sell their land to the state.
The former colonial 
power foistered upon our country a flawed Lancaster constitution that tied the hands of 
our Government to prevent it from undertaking the necessary land reform over the first 
10 years of independence through entrenched constitutional provisions that protected 
whites only.

Less than 4 000 white commercial farmers, many of them whom hold at least two passports 
in violation of the country’s laws, unjustly own vast tracks of land most of it lying derelict or 
undeutilised.  Meanwhile, scores of white commercial farmers, with thousands of hectares 
of prime land to spare, diversified into horticulture, tobacco game ranching, tour and safari 

Analysts said in a country where 80 percent of the population farm the poorest of soils, 
the sight of some of the most fertile lands lying fallow and being used by a tiny ethnic 
minority for game ranching and safari operations where foreign tourists pay money to 
go and watch animals, was a major political destabilising factor for Zimbabwe.  ZANU-PF
says sustainable economic growth, food security and general empowerment of the indigenous
community will not happen unless and until the land question is resolved once and for all.

The benefits of the ZANU-PF vision for the next five years are tremendous and include
resettling some 150 000 households, boosting economic growth, creating up to 850 000
jobs and providing up to a million housing units in the major cities and towns.  In November
1997, the government, smarting under political pressure from landless peasants and war 
veterans, moved to act by announcing that land would be acquired compulsorily for redistribution.

Zimbabwe became independent in 1980 following the Lancaster House Conference peace talks
in Britain, which ushered in the Lancaster House constitution in 1979.   That agreement barred
the government from acquiring privately owned farmland for the first 10 years.   Britain, the 
colonial master agreed that it would pay for the land reform programme.  Tired of waiting for land, 
former veterans of Zimbabwe's war of independence have over the past two years occupied 
commercial farms. 

The country’s land reform exercise has won it many enemies. Donor agencies have suspended 
aid to Zimbabwe but the government has vowed that it would go ahead with the programme 
despite the negative publicity it is receiving from the foreign media.   The government intends 
to acquire five million hectares from the large-scale commercial farming sector on which it 
plans to resettle millions of landless blacks.  

Resettled farmers to increase production this year(26 June 2001)  

SCORES of small-scale farmers, resettled under the fast-track land reform programme
 have managed to produce good crops with limited resources during the 2000/2001 season.

This has raised hopes that production could be increased this year if more financial and
technical support is channeled to them.
Although there are no figures to show achievements
 of the fast-track land resettlement programme, the most meaningful achievement of the 
exercise is that it showed the determination of scores of Zimbabweans to get into agriculture,
which is the backbone of the economy.  

Zimbabwe like many other countries in the Sub Saharan region is dependent on extractive
 sectors such as agriculture.
President Robert Mugabe last week welcomed a proposal by
 Nigeria to set up a seven-nation mission to mediate for an end to strained relations between 
Zimbabwe and Britain over the land issue.

Following his trip to Nairobi, Cde Mugabe told reporters in Harare last week about the 
Nigerian initiative to discuss land issues with his Kenyan counterpart, President 
Daniel arap Moi. In a joint communiqué, President Mugabe and President Moi said they
 welcomed President Obasanjo’s initiative proposed in May to set up the mediation 
mission comprising foreign ministers from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, 
Jamaica, Britain and Australia. 
During his visit to Kenya, President Mugabe briefed 
President Moi on the land issue focusing policy framework, its legality and progress
 made so far in resettling people.

According to the ruling party, ZANU- PF, agriculture plays a pivotal role in economic 
development, contributing through its extensive forward and backward linkages. 
 argues that sustainable economic growth, job creation, food security, housing development,
 increased and secure capacity to earn foreign currency and general economic empowerment
of the indigenous community will not take place unless the land question is resolved.

The Zimbabwe Farmers Union president, Mr Silas Hungwe said this week that the
 small-scale and communal farming sectors had a bright future in Zimbabwe if the current
 land redistribution was successfully completed. 

   “These two sectors will make a big contribution to agricultural production in Zimbabwe 
more than they are doing now.  There are a lot of productive and well trained farmers in
 Zimbabwe who are ready to get into viable agriculture once they are given land,” said Mr Hungwe.

 The ZFU, which is the voice of the smallholder farmers, is assisting the small-scale 
commercial and communal farmers to raise their standard of living through increased 
net income from farming activities.

Mr Hungwe said their members have started making inroads in areas that were 
previously white dominated.

He said production of some cash crops increased while lack of inputs could be 
attributed to the decline in the production of some crops. 

Groundnut production by small scale and communal farmers increased to 
192 000 tonnes from 186 000 tonnes achieved last year.

 Sunflower production also increased from 13 000 tonnes last season to
 21 000 tonnes in the 2000/2001 season. Initial forecasts indicated that maize
production was going to fall from 1.4 million achieved last year to 1.1 million.

Cotton was also expected to fall from 271 000 tonnes to 230 000 tonnes in 
the 2000/2001 season.

  The ZFU was working closely with the Horticulture Promotion Council in assisting
 smallholder farmers to venture into this fast growing horticulture sector.

  Mr Hungwe said about 4 000 ZFU members were now involved in the production
 of horticultural crops for export.

 “We encourage our members to work in groups so that they pool their produce
 together in order to satisfy the demands of the export market,” he said. 

 Participation of small-scale farmers in the flower production sector has not been as fast 
as in the vegetable and fruit because flower production is capital intensive.  

  However, a sizeable number of small farmers have started producing field flowers
 like proteas in the Midlands province particularly around Gweru.  

   In Mashonaland central, particularly Chiweshe, 261 farmers at Negomo Irrigation 
Scheme and other 300 individual farmers are exporting their crops through Selby
Enterprises, an exporting agent identified by the HPC for the ZFU.

   In Mashonaland East, Hortico Shipping Company is exporting crops for at
 least 2000 ZFU members from Mutoko, Murewa and Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe.

   About 21 000 smallholder farmers sell their horticultural crops at Mbare Musika
 and Chikwanha market in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza.

   The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) prepared a draft document on the land
 reform programme and submitted it to the Government recently.  The offer was
a show by the CFU, through the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative, of its 
commitment to the land distribution exercise being undertaken by the government.

   The CFU document proposed the implementation of a tillage programme that 
would provide one hectare of free tillage to the resettled families and set up an
 agricultural inputs credit scheme.

   The resettlement support package was meant to convince the Government and 
that the CFU wanted to have the land question addressed through dialogue and 
not through the courts.  This should enable the country to secure support from 
the donor community to sustain the land reform programme.

   In August last year, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans joined the
 landless rural peasants and moved on to white commercial farms to force the 
government to speed up the resettlement process.

   The CFU took the Government to court on numerous occasions last year
protesting against the compulsory acquisition of land.  The Government
remained resolute that the land question was a fundamental political issue
 not a legal one.

   Despite heavy criticism from the western community, the government
 appeared intent to address the unfair distribution of land.

   The resettlement of millions of landless Zimbabweans will enhance the 
earnings potential of the agriculture sector.  The government argues that 
there should be fair and equitable land distribution.



Land Acquisition Act amended
The Herald April 25,2001

The Land Acquisition Act has been amended to empower any Cabinet minister or any person authorised by the President to be an acquiring authority of land for resettlement.

The Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Land Acquisitions) Regulations of 2001 gazetted in an Extraordinary Government Gazette yesterday repeals the definition  of acquiring authority in the Land Acquisition Act.

It also describes as an acquiring authority a person empowered or required by any enactment to acquire land, take materials from land, or pay compensation for land.

"Section 2 and 3 of the principal Act as amended by these regulations shall be deemed to have come into operation on the 23rd` May 2000." read ther regulations.

"For the avoidance of doubt, anything done under the principal Act on or after the 23rd May, 2000, and before the date of commencement of these regulations in the exercise of any authority given in terms of the principal Act shall be valid as if it had been done in terms of the principal Act as amended by these regulations."





      IN A WIDE-RANGING survey of the problems and challenges facing the Party, the President and First Secretary, Comrade R.G.Mugabe, said the land redistribution and land resettlement programme should be concluded by the end of this year (2001). He was addressing the Central Committee in Harare on Friday, March 30th`.
     The speach was focusing on the Party restructuring, and linking it to the land issue. It was listened to by some 400 students from the University of Zimbabwe and Harare Polytechnic who carried placards in the streets of Harare supporting the Party`s land reform programme.
     The students said that for many years they had been misled by ZINASU to oppose the Party, and to support what became the MDC.


   ON restructuring, he said the structures of the Party must be set up in such a way that they serve a definite purpose.
   During the war of  national liberation, the Party designed structures for mobilizing the peolpe against a common enemy that colonized and exploited us. Within liberated and semi-liberated zones, there was a vigorous re-organisation of the people into production units in order to sustain the armed struggle.
  "Over and above this, we ensured at all times that these structures were manned by committed, knowledgeanle cadres who knew what was required of them in the struggle, whether by our Parties, or by the people whose liberation we sought", he said.


   THE President what was needed now was "to reconnect with that period of purposive re-organisation and restructuring."
  He said the enemies who colonized us are still fighting against us in different guises. "We have been forced back to the trenches by the same enemy we fought during our liberation struggle who has confronted us in all forms of guises".


   The President linked the question of Party structures to the land issue.  Our strength lies in our having in place a Party whose structures will enable us to assert undiluted sovereign right over our natural resources of which land in the most important.  "We must deliver the land unencumbered by impediments to its rightful owners.  It  is theirs by birth; it is theirs by natural and legal right; it is theirs by struggle; indeed their by legacy," he thundered.
   He stated emphatically that the challenge before us requires a leadership that is resolute, and does not equivocate or hesitate in using those structures in fulfilling a longstanding covenant our people entered with the people.  He said "the current restructuring processes must yield such structures, such leadership, and must purposefully serve our struggle against continued British imperial disinheritance of our people - the latter day colonial imperialism by  an unprincipled, confused and ignorant government of Tony Blair".


  HE said in the last six months more than 60 000 families have been resettled. Relevant Ministries are preparing for the second decisive phase of the resettlement programme. "The wish is complete resettlement by thew end of this year. But the thrust of the resettlement programme is to benefit the small-holder peasant farmer first, because it is he or she who badly needs land for a living. Only after satisfying him or her will, the focus turn to other categories of indigenous farmers", he said.


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                             ZANU PF CONGRESS15/12/2000

  1.                  PREAMBLE


1.1.                        Since the arrival of British white settlers in 1890, the indigenous black Zimbabwean has been involved in a continual struggle to regain and reassert their sovereign right over their land, culminating in the bitter war of liberation, which led to Zimbabwe's Independence in1980.

1.2.                        At independence, Government immediately embarked on a programme to address the immoral, unjust and illegal land grabbing by colonialists from our ancestors without any consideration for compensation.  It was resolved to acquire at least 8.3. million hectares of rural commercial farming land to resettle land hungry peasants and decongest their overcrowded communal lands.

As outlined in the 1999 report to the congress the land distribution pattern at independence was as follows:-








Commercial farming


Large Scale






Set aside for Rhodesian Whites who comprised 2% of the population


Small Scale






Token freehold tenure for blacks


Communal Areas





Set aside as African Reserves through colonial legislation for blacks that comprised 97.6% of the population.




State Farms




Statutory allocation for parastatals and leasehold for whites



National Parks and Urban Settlement







Urban reserves, forest areas, game and conveniences.








1.3              The first phase of the land reform programme which ended in 1997 was based on the Lancaster House brokered constitutional provision under the "willing seller - willing buyer" system.  This approach was fraught with problems of having insufficient land on offer, and when made available was of poor quality and often scattered away rendering the provision of infrastructure and the provision of services difficult.  Further, constitutional constraints and a rough and uneven legal terrain compounded the problem.  Government also faced resource constraints after the British Government reneged on its promise to make available funds for land purchase as part of their responsibility as promised at Lancaster House Conference.  As a result only 71 000 families were settled on 3.3 million hectares leaving a balance of 5 million hectares or more.

1.4              In the second phase which ended in May 2000 after this programmed also met with various problems, Government set out to acquire the remaining 5 million plus hectares enbloc and 2 345 farms were identified for possible acquisition.  There was massive resistance against this move by white landowners, leaving only 120 farms on offer to government.  This resulted in only 4 697  families being resettled on 145 000 hectares during this period.

1.5              Faced with this slow pace of resettlement government agreed to the convening of an International Donors Conference in 1998 to explain to the international community Zimbabwe's Land Reform and Resettlement Programme and to mobilise donor support for it.  Among other agreements reached by the Conference was the idea of implementation of the Inception Phase, based on donor funding which would subsequently be expectations amongst the land hungry people.  However, no financial support was forthcoming from the pledges resulting in the delay in implementing the Inception Phase.  This resulted in increased political tensions and anger manifesting in farm demonstrations and occupations by land hungry peasants who were later joined by the war veterans.

1.6              Faced with these political imperatives, Government responded  by formulating immediately adopting and implementing an accelerated Land reform and Resettlement Programme "Fast Track" approach, using its own limited resources.


2.1.                        The "Fast Track" approach seeks to speed up the pace of implementation of the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme.  The approach focuses on the identification and acquisition of all the remaining 5 million plus hectares of land required for resettlement.  The emphasis will be on compulsory acquisition rather than focusing on land offered under the cumbersome "willing seller/willing buyer" process.

Government will henceforth compensate for infrastructural development only and not for land.  Britain as former colonial power and pursuant to the commitment it made at the Lancaster House Conference had an obligation to honour its commitment to pay for the land.  Section 16 of the Constitution and the Land Acquisition Act were amended to reflect this new policy and remove impediments, which hindered and slowed down the pace of resettlement.


3.1              The objectives and targets of the Accelerated Land Reform and         Resettlement Programme “Fast Track” can be summed up as follows:

>The programme started with the rapid compulsory acquisition of 804 farms, which were identified for compulsory acquisition in 1997 measuring 2.1 million hectares, and will continue until at least 5 million hectares of rural commercial land and have been acquired and resettled;

>The immediate resettlement of families on acquired land ;

>The preferred models of resettlement will be the A1 and 3-tier;

>Target beneficiaries will be selected from among the landless in accordance with approved policies and procedures;

>Ensure food security, create employment, eradicate poverty in the country;

>Reduce pressure on land and enhance environmental sustainability;

>Reduce political pressure for land.

The basic infrastructures to be provided in the “Fast Track” refers to:

>Farm and village surveys;
>Pegging of arable plots and homesteads;
>Opening up of access roads;
>Sinking of deep wells and boreholes;
> Cattle dips;

>Land preparation and crop packages for a hectare per family

3.3 It was recommended to reduce the sizes of land to be allocated to each beneficiaries family based on the agro ecological regions or natural regions as follows:

Natural Region







Optimum      Plot size as in policy document (hectares)







Calculated minimum farm sizes (hectares)








3.4    Settlers are being selected from the landless persons in the congested communal areas, those with agricultural acumen as well as other interested/marginalized groups in accordance with Cabinet approved Resettlement and Land Redistribution Policies and Procedures.

3.5     Settlers selection is done in accordance with the established Resettlement and Land Redistribution Policies and Procedures of Government. Under these, beneficiary selection is carried out by local committees made up of traditional leaders, councilors, representatives of the local chapters of the War Veterans and former political detainees associations and supervised by the District Administrators and Provincial Governo

3.6The settler selection priorities for land in the “Fast Track” programme will be based on the following priority list

Ø      Successful candidates including women selected from the Rural District Council waiting list in which the scheme is found;

Ø      Successful candidates selected from translocation within and across the provinces;

Ø      ex-combatants and former detainees selected by the local chapter of the War Veterans Association;

Ø      Farm workers and

Ø      Other landless Zimbabweans with training experience in Agricultural production.

4.   Progress of Fast Track Approach from June 2000-to date.

4.1 Under the Fast track approach the institutional and administrative arrangements for implementing the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme the Acquisition Committee has been enhanced to include a special Task Force of Implementing Line Ministries serviced by a Command Centre. 

4.2      Land Identification

Since embarking on the Fast Track Land Reform and Resettlement Programme in June this year, a total of 2  540 farms measuring 5.9 million hectares have been gazetted for compulsory acquisition. Some of these gazetted farms have however been identified outside our laid down criteria and consequently, a process of cleaning up the list of gazetted farms is in process. To date 110 farms identified outside the stated criteria have been de-listed.

4.3 Since the inception of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme 46 111 beneficiary families have been resettled on 2 495 067 hectares. A total of 2 155. 6 hectares has as at 6 December 2000, been ploughed for 3 0002 resettled farmers.

Tillage for “Fast Track


Beneficiary families

Tillage in hectares







Mashonaland East



Mashonaland West









Matabeleland North



Matabeleland South





2 155.

4.3      The table below shows a summary of the resettlement pattern in the eight provinces. July 2000- 24 November 2000





Mashonaland East

Mashonaland Central

Mashonaland West


Matabeleland North

Matabeleland South


3 460

8 557

3 961

8  766

7 137

3 348

5 152

6 345












  Summary of all Land Reform Programmes since Independence


Families resettled


1980-October 1998(1st phase)

  October 1998- June 2000(2nd phase)

  Fast Track July- November 2000

71 000


46 111

3 498 440

    144 991

2 495 067

Grand Total

121 808

6 138 498

Below is the distribution of gazetted farms by province and a schedule chronicling the sequence in which the identified farms have been gazetted.

Summary of farms gazetted by province


No. of farms

Extent (HA)


Mashonaland East

Mashonaland Central

Mashonaland West


Matabeleland North

Matabeleland South





















                              Summary of gazetted farms by each schedule


No. Of Farms

Extent (HA)

Date gazetted

Date of Expiry of Appeal


































































5.1 Having realized that we have covered mileage with the resettlement programme, my committee is now considering a programme to indigenize the small, medium and large scale commercial farming sector through the   Commercial Farm Settlement Scheme (CFSS) on a full cost recovery basis. My committee, Cabinet Committee on Resettlement and Rural Development, will coordinate, supervise and monitor the Commercial Farm Resettlement Scheme. Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement has the mandate to provide professional and technical services for the Commercial Farm Settlement Scheme.  In order to ensure transparency and accountability, it will be necessary to consult the Provincial Land Identification Committees. However, this does not give authority to Provincial Governors/ Resident Ministers over the Commercial Farm Settlement Scheme.

5.2 Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement will ensure that extensive advertisements inviting applicants for the scheme are made through all Provincial and District Offices, as well as the print and electronic media, in Shona, Ndebele and English. Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Provincial Land Identification Committee will assist in ensuring that information on the scheme is disseminated to all provincial and district structures right down to the village level.

5.3 Ministry of Rural Resources and Water Development will work out a programme to provide tillage, access roads, water, etc for the farmers.

6.        International Donor Support

For the very onset, it is important to note that government policy has remained consistent and persistent. Government will forge ahead with Accelerated Fast Track Land Reform and Resettlement Programme with or without donor support. No amount of persuasion of pressure will make government deviate from this policy position. Government decided to embark on the Fast Track Land Reform and Resettlement Programme in order to find a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s Land Problem.

6.2     Government is however willing to work with donors on a bilateral and multilateral basis, who accept the Accelerated Fast Track Land Reform and Resettlement Programme implementation plan.

6.2    During the period under review the Chairman of National Land Acquisition Committee met with various representatives of donor countries to convince the international community that current policy on land is workable, manageable and lawful. However certain members of the international community had opted to link Zimbabwe’s land issue with other issues like

-         Macro economic issues      
-Democratic Republic of Congo war

-         Pre and post election disturbances

-         ZANU-PF leadership, etc which basically boils down to interference with Zimbabwe’s internal and domestic affairs. These countries would like to replace the current progressive ZANU-PF government with the puppet regime that they will control.

6.3    This message was transmitted by the UNDP envoy, Mr. Mark Mallock Brown, who had offered to broker on behalf of western donors who were refusing to release funds in protest to what they perceived to be a general breakdown of the rule of law in the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme

6.4    I was however disappointing to note that through UNDP, USAID, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands had unilaterally withdrawn support for the Technical Support Unit (TSU) in the Office of the President and Cabinet. The TSU was not only a gesture of goodwill bit a vehicle to add value to Government’s approaches to the land issue

6.5    It should be realized however that it is powerful countries with vested interests in Zimbabwe who unfortunately control institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Similarly these powerful countries have engaged in negative propaganda against Zimbabwe, ZANU-PF and its leadership. A lot of effort and energy will have to be spent to encounter this negative publicity campaign. However, this will in no way detract us from the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme that we have embarked upon.

Land Reform in Zimbabwe is a liberation war resolution that is reversible. This is a major empowerment programme that is intended to redress land redistribution imbalance of the last 120 years. To this end Government, the Party and its leadership should see this Land Reform and Resettlement Programme through to its logical conclusion. Our leader, Comrade R.G Mugabe as the symbol of our national unity has a national responsibility to see this empowerment programme through to its logical conclusion.

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The most important political issue, and the most significant economic activity in Zimbabwe today is the resettlement of several families of indigenous peasants on designated commercial farms. The resettlement issue has been an enduring feature of the Zimbabwe political landscape. The historical imbalances and unequal ownership of the land are socially unjust, racially motivated, economically inefficient, and politically unacceptable. In October, 2000, it is estimated that some 4 500 largely white commercial farmers own over 11 million hectares (approximately 30 percent of the total area) of mainly high quality agricultural land, whilst over 2 million black peasants were confined to low quality communal areas covering 16 million hectares. There is agreement among most Governments about the need for widescale land redistribution and resettlement as a means of increasing agricultural production, and promoting political stability throughout the country, and the region.

There have been two phases of the Government's land reform and resettlement programme; the first phase ran from 1980-1997, and phase two began in 1997. The second phase was launched in 1997, and from mid-2000. Government initiated a "fast track" system within that programme. In the first phase over 3.4 million hectares of land were distributed to over 72,000 families of peasant farmers. But, the second phase is more ambitious, aiming at settling 150,000 families on 5 million hectares of land. An international donor conference held in September, 1998, endorsed the general plan and helped to finalise the formulation of the programme, but later on the donors withdrew from the scheme.

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The objectives of the second phase are: To acquire 5 million hectares from large scale commercial farming sector for redistribution to 150,000 peasant families; To reduce or eliminate poverty among rural families and farm workers by providing them with land for agriculture; To increase the contribution of agriculture to the DGP; and to provide conditions of sustainable peace by removing the well known historical imbalances.

The broad objectives of the fast track programme and the second phase have now been achieved. The legal process of gazetting farms for now is close to completion, and all told, about 2,190 properties have been processed and gazetted, measuring slightly over 5.5 million hectares of land. The breakdown province by province is as follows:-

Manicaland 150 143 000
Mashonaland Central 141 351 237
Mashonaland East 460 439 672
Mashonaland West 490 624 621
Masvingo 243 1 772 355
Matabeleland North 153 724 900
Matabeleland South 199 814 228
Midlands 345 676 580

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These figures are expected slightly to fluctuate as the list of gazetted farms gets "cleaned up" to ensure that the properties for acquisition truly meet the identification criteria.

Settler emplacement continues and the latest figures (September 30, 2000) indicate that 5 987 families have been settled on about 262 323ha of land. Manicaland has had 887 families settled to date; Mashonaland East 1 023; Mashonaland Central 769; Mashonaland West 548; Midlands 295; Masvingo 1 574; Matabeleland South 501 and Matabeleland North 390 families. Another 102 farms measuring total hectarage of about 471 350, have been given for distribution in all provinces and the breakdown is as follows: Mashonaland East (9); Mashonaland West (4); Mashonaland Central (11); Masvingo (17); Manicaland (11); Matabeleland North (26); Matabeleland South (16) and Midlands (8).

We still have a long way to go and it is envisaged that greater acceleration of land distribution will occur in the next few weeks. Government has to ensure that the people will be in their resettlement places in time for the agricultural seasons. Government has agreed to make some essential inputs available to the new settlers.

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Over 7 000 families resettled on 110 farms

Extract from The Herald, Thursday November 23 2000

SOME 7 137 families have so  far been resettled on 110 commercial farms in Masvingo province, as the fast-track land resettlement programme gathers momentum.
          Another 2 000 families are expected to have been resettled on 20 other farms by the end of this month, bringing the number of people resettled since the inception of the programme in August to 9 137 in the province.
          The Provincial Administrator of Masvingo, Mr. Alfonso Chikurira, yesterday said planning and allocation was in top gear in the province as Government officers moved swiftly to complete work on al  designated farms.
         "Work is in progress and our officers are currently on the designated farms working on the plots and settling people.
         As long as the farm was designated, we are going ahead and doing our work as usual,"said Mr Chikurira.
        Since the inception of the fast -track programme, said Mr Chikurira, the number of people on the land allocation list had sharply increased from 63 000 in June to more than 100 000 at present.
      Government has also put in place 60 tractors to till 750 hectares of land for families resettled under the programme, but lack of stumping has made it difficult for the tractors to plough with speed.
       "We have 60 tractors on the farms, but some of the plots are virgin land which has not been stumped properly, making difficult for  tractors to plough.
       Another  problem we have is that there are more people on certain farms than the available land, and we have to move them to other places," he said
      Another glaring problem, was that of people resettled on undesignated farms and on conservancies, where the Government has to look for alternative land.
  "Those occupying undesignated land have to vacate, but they have agreed to do so only when we provide alternative land to them.
   "Officially, they are not supposed to farm there , but you know what people do when the rains come. This is our problem," said Mr Chikurira.

   MEANWHILE The People`s Voice
has reported that  about 4 000 families has been resettled in Manicaland under the same programme.
      Speaking to the weekly paper,(26 Nov-2 Dec 2000) the Governor of Manicaland, Cde Oppah Muchinguri said that the programme was going on well despite some difficulties they are facing from the  white farmers who are trying to resist the fast- track resettlement programme.
  "We have met some resistence in Mutasa district where some farmers have gone to the extent of suing me," she said.
       The Governor said  they are being gender sensitive in their programme as they are deliberately allocating 10% of the land to women and as well as the youth.

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State forced to adopt fast-track approach: Mudenge

The Herald , Monday December 4 2000   Page 9

THE current approach to solving the land question would not have been necessary had Britain lived up to its  commitments made at Lancaster House in 1979, the minister of Foreign Affairs, Cde Stan Mudenge, said on Thursday night. 

Speaking at a dinner in Harare hosted for the visiting United Nations Development Programme administrator, Mr Mark Malloch Brown, Cde Mudenge said the Government had been forced to adopt the fast-track approach following continual reneging by the former colonial power. 

"If Britain had honoured its obligations, then Mr Administrator, your mission to Zimbabwe would be a very different one, " the said Cde Mudenge. 

"In choosing the approach we took, we were guided by principles of justice, fair play and equity.  We wanted to bring justice and equity to all our people. 

"We articulated just and equitable criteria which guide our programmes."

He said because the Government had tried to be fair and open in its approach, it felt secure in the conviction that the right thing was being done. 

"...We have a powerful ally in our land reform programme, namely a clear conscience.  Yes, we know that our cause is just.  Morality bids us to correct the present skewed land system.  The poverty of our people congested in the communal lands enjoins us to act."

Cde Mudenge said the Government was on a "fast-track" to eradicate the sad social and economic condition of people who have endured over a century of humiliation and deprivation.

He said despite the promises made at the 1998 Land Conference, no land had been acquired between then and June this year due to resource constraints. 

This was also coupled by an unfavourable international perception about effects the resettlement programme would have on huge investments, which the remaining 4 500 white commercial farmers had made on their farms.

 He conceded that a speedier process of land acquisition and resettlement cuts across "matrices of networks" between the farmers, the producers of agricultural inputs and implements, the market, banks and insurance houses-all of which are dominated by the same minority people. 

"It is our just concern that the interest of this sophisticated network are allowed to overshadow the legitimate  cry of the impoverished and  landless majority in post colonial Zimbabwe," said Cde Mudenge

He said the fast- track programme demonstrated the Government's commitment to resolve land injustice in the shortest period possible.

Completion of the phase has been put at December 2001. The  Government was fully aware of financial, logistical and manpower limitations, but had to made a decision to go ahead "with speed and within our limited resources constraints".

"This  Zimbabwean train is on the move. To borrow words of a famous American actor : Let the dog bark, the caravan moves on," said Cde  Mudenge  "The land resettlement programme we have embarked on is reversible and unstoppable."

He said it was  a known fact that the programme needed to be improved on in areas like roads, water supplies, schools, clinics, dip tanks, draught power, initial seed and fertilizer, extension services and training.

The agricultural sector would not be disrupted irreparably, he added 

On compensation of commercial farmers, Cde Mudenge said that could only be given for improvements and not the soil, which should be shouldered by the colonial power.

"However, it is hope of many in this country that your mission may provide an opportunity for a breakthrough to this vexed question," he said to Mr Mallaoch Brown.

The UNDP chief and special envoy of the UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan said as the changes to the land issue are implemented, the country should aim at gaining international support. 

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