Harare – A Zimbabwean government policy that provides long term leases to black farmers and short term ones to their white counterparts has been described by analysts as “discriminatory and bad for the country’s economy,” says a report.
Lands minister, Douglas Mombeshora, announced over the weekend that resettled black farmers will be issued with 99-year long leases, while the remaining white farmers would have theirs reviewed every five years.
“There are white farmers who have been approved by provincial officers to continue farming after satisfying a number of requirements.
“We will be giving such farmers five-year leases that are subject to renewal upon meeting certain conditions at the expiry of the documents. This will enable us to collect taxes from these farmers,” Mombeshora wa quoted as saying.
But according, New Zimbabwe.com, analysts warned that under the recently promulgated policy, investors such as the World Bank and other donors would not fund such programmes.
Political commentator, Maxwell Saungweme was quoted as saying that the policy was “discriminatory” and bordered on “illegality” as those farmers were also Zimbabwean citizen.
Saungweme said that President Robert Mugabe‘s anti-white stances were a hindrance to the country’s reconciliation agenda which was being driven by the National Healing and Reconciliation ministry under Vice President Phekezela Mphoko.
Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party launched a controversial land reform programme at the turn of the millennium , thus, forcing thousands of white commercial farmers and their employees into homelessness and without sources of income.
Fresh land grabs
Some of the farmers lost their lives during the chaotic land seizures.
Mugabe in June threatened to embark on fresh land grabs targeting the few white commercial farmers still remaining in the country.
Addressing thousands of his supporters in the farming town of Marondera, the nonagenarian said that white commercial agronomists who still remained on the farms should be removed from their properties because most Zimbabweans were in need of land.
“We told (former British premier) Tony Blair to keep his England and we keep our Zimbabwe because land is our heritage. We have discovered that in Mashonaland East province alone, there are 73 white commercial farmers who are still occupying some farms when our people do not have land,” said Mugabe speaking in the local Shona language.
He continued: “We are going to take those farms and re-distribute them to our youths, some of whom did not benefit from the land reform programme but the land would not be enough for everybody. We are also going to take away the land from small scale purchase farmers who are not utilising those farms for re-distribution.”