Land issues—including extreme racial disparities in land ownership, insecurity of land tenure and property rights, control over fertile land and mineral reserves, and insecurity of community land rights—have played a central role in Zimbabwe’s history which continues to this day. Located in Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) achieved independence from colonial rule in 1980. Though rich in mineral resources, the vast majority of Zimbabweans live in poverty. By January 2009, only 6% of the population worked in the formal sector.
In June 2005, demolition crews destroyed hundreds of homes in an impoverished suburb of Mutare, under ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ (Move the Rubbish), the government of Zimbabwe’s campaign to forcibly clear ‘slums’ across the country. Many of those made homeless joined housing cooperatives to collectively purchase land, on which to rebuild their lives, only to have that land taken by Zanu-PF supporters with backing from government ministers.
White farmers who were forcibly dispossessed of their property in Zimbabwe are suing President Robert Mugabe, claiming the government owes them compensation.
Mugabe’s government introduced a controversial land reform program in 2000 that led to squatters invading and seizing the majority of white-owned farms across the southern African country. The seizures were often violent, and resulted in the murder of multiple white farmers.
THE Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) has admitted agricultural production in the country has been on a downward trend and on Tuesday announced it would introduce a new section aimed at encouraging farmers to improve their yields.
ZAS CEO, Anxious Masuka, told reporters at a press conference in Harare they would launch the Eleven Tonne Plus Club which will celebrate the cream of Zimbabwean farmers who have excelled in maize production.