By Daniel Chigundu
AUTSRIALIA-based Herald columnist Reason Wafawarova has called on President Robert Mugabe to stop persecuting about 73 white farmers said to be in Mashonaland East Province.
Addressing a youth rally in Marondera President Mugabe said government will be acquiring 73 farms that are still owned by white farmers and redistribute them to unemployed youths in the province.
Writing on his Facebook page, Wafawarova said it’s was stupid to think grabbing land from the 73 whites will go a long way in creating employment opportunities for the unemployed youths.
“Stop persecuting white commercial farmers in the name of creating employment. Evicting 73 productive farmers at this juncture in our history is no longer land reform, and neither is it an initiative to create employment.
“I suggest resigning if our leadership has become as hare brained as to think that 73 white productive commercial farmers are the reason our youths have no jobs.
“Even more stupid is the idea that grabbing land off these resilient and productive remnants of our white community will in itself bring youth prosperity. We have more than enough land in the hands of indigenous Zimbabweans after our justified move to reclaim the same land in 2000.
“Our land reclamation was never meant to be an act of annihilating the white race from the farming community in Zimbabwe, but an act of social justice towards equitable distribution of land. I thank you,” he said
Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform exercise in 2000 where it sought to address a mismatch where the minority white farmers owned the majority of productive land at the expense of the majority blacks.
The land reform exercise was often characterised by violence and other various forms of human rights abuses which led to the country being slapped with sanctions by the European Union and later the US.
While others are of the view that land reform was a success, some think it was a disaster as it affected the country’s food security.
Since 2000 Zimbabwe has never produced enough food for its self and has had to depend on grain imports from South Africa, Zambia and Brazil, while the majority of rural dwellers were sustained by donor aid from development partners.
However, this season the country is anticipating getting in excess of 2.2 million metric tonnes of maize buoyed by good rains, inputs from the Command Agriculture program and the Presidential Input Scheme.
Resettled farmers in Zimbabwe face such challenges as lack of funds to buy important capital equipment such as tractors, combine harvesters and irrigation equipment.
Banks are still unwilling to lend to new farmers as most of them do not have acceptable collateral and their 99-year leases are not security enough.