The evolution of Zimbabwe’s land acquisition
MetadataShow full item record
The land reform programme in Zimbabwe has raised a number of critical political economy questions. The massive transfer of land within a short period of time and without international financial support calls for a rethinking of our understanding of the process of land reform in Africa (Berry, 1993; Platteau, 1996; Moyo, 2000). Across the African continent, competition over land intensified in the late twentieth century, leading to rising land values, increasingly commercialized patterns of land acquisition, concentration of landholdings, prolonged litigation, and sometimes to assault and even murder. Evidence of growing land pressure and increasing conflict has prompted some observers to argue that land reform, once considered a low priority on a continent with plenty of land to go around, is now a matter of urgency. Rather than debate the case for or against land reform per se, this chapter explores the trends in land acquisition in Zimbabwe in the context of broader debates over economic and political transformations. The purpose of this chapter is to walk the reader through the land acquisition process throughout the 25 years of Zimbabwe’s independence. The chapter focuses on land acquisition which has been an area of contest throughout the independence period. The chapter should be read concurrently with chapters by Matondi and Munyuki-Hungwe (chapter 3) and Makadho (chapter 7) to get a clear picture of the linkages of land acquisition, redistribution and national land policy.