New Zimbabwe Lecture SeriesTHE SCOURGE OF POLITICAL PATRONAGE: AN ECONOMICALLY SUSTAINABLE PROGRAMME FOR LAND REFORM IN THE NEW ZIMBABWEDale Doré RETHINKING LAND REFORM AND ITS AFTERMATH: IS THE ZIMBABWE “LAND REFORM” SUSTAINABLE AS A POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROCESS? Crowne Plaza Monomotapa, Harare20th of March 2007
The fundamental principles of land reform • To resolve the historical imbalance of land ownership • To pay compensation to those whose farms have been acquired, and • To ensure a fair, transparent and economically sustainable resettlement process
Objective of presentation To meet the objectives of a just, transparent and economically sustainable land reform programme requires a shift • from a political narrative based on ‘lost lands’ to • an economic programme based on secure property rights and the development of a land market.
The political narrative of ‘lost lands’ • White settlers stole the land from the indigenous black population. Since the land was stolen, it cannot be bought from those who stole it (whites), nor should it be paid for by those who receive it (blacks). • The state is the custodian of land on behalf of all black Zimbabweans. The state, represented by the President, is entrusted to distribute land fairly and equitably to the poorest and most deserving black Zimbabweans.
Key elements of a sustainable economic land reform programme Land is a finite economic resource that must be used to its full potential by ensuring: • That it should be utilised by those with the best farming skills, training and experience • Farmers should have secure property rights that can be used as collateral for loans to make farm investments and purchase inputs • That land transfers should take place through a market mechanism.
The political narrative An unsustainable land reform model Securing political control over farmland The new custodians of ‘lost lands’ Land distribution and political patronage Opportunity costs of Fast Track Programme The economic alternative Property rights promote investment, productivity Land transfers through the market Misgiving about a ‘market-assisted’ approaches Socially responsible land market Dissolving the dual agrarian economy Outline of presentation
The political narrative is based on a economically unsustainable land reform model A massive fiscal gap must inevitably open up as the government has to pay more and more for land at market prices and give it away free. • To secure the supply of land to meet its populist political agenda the government is forced to seize and control land through racist policies and a series of unjust laws, and • To maintain its grip on power the ruling party has to buy loyalty from powerful interest groups: war veterans, the military, civil servants, politicians and business people by rationing an infinite demand for land.
The process of securing farmland before 2000 • Constitutional Amendment No.11 (1990) states that compensation would no longer be based on adequate and prompt payment, but on fair payment within a reasonable time. • The Land Acquisition Act (1992) drops ‘willing buyer- willing seller’ principle and allows compulsorily acquisition of farms to speed up resettlement. • Constitutional amendment No. 13 (1993) prevents farmers seeking redress through the courts for unfair compensation. • In 1997 Mugabe declares: : “We are going to take the land and we are not going to pay for the soil.” • The government’s draft constitution includes clause 57, which states that Britain is responsible for paying compensation for land compulsorily acquired for resettlement.
The process of securing farmland after 2000 • When the people of Zimbabwe rejected the draft constitution in a referendum in February 2000, Mugabe pushed through Constitutional Amendment (No. 16) that restated the lost lands narrative and that Britain was obliged to pay compensation for land compulsorily acquired for resettlement. • In Land Acquisition Amendment Act (2003) declares that |the government would no longer be bound by the criteria laid down by the Fast Track Programme, allowing the government to seize the land of the remaining whites who only owned one farm, plantations, agro-industrial property, export processing zones and wildlife conservancies. It also states that the government intended to acquire a minimum of 11 million hectares. (In 1998, only derelict, underutilised, multiple and foreign-owned land and land next to communal areas was eligible for acquisition.) • The Acquisition of Farm Equipment and Materials Act (2004) provides for the seizure of the evicted farmers’ equipment and material. • Constitutional Amendment (No. 17) of 2005, section 16B, nationalises all land that had been identified for resettlement in a preliminary notice (Section 5 notice). • The Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act (2006), makes it illegal for farmers to remain on their farms (state land) without a lease from government. Virtually no compensation is paid. As the ruling party assumes political control over a key economic resource on which 70 percent of the population depends, it also controls their livelihoods and their liberty.
The new custodians of ‘lost lands’ • The objectives of the Intensive Resettlement Programme (1985) were to decongest the communal areas by resettling the landless, unemployed and master farmers. • By 1998 the beneficiaries also included ex-combatants, displaced farm workers, women, as well as persons of means and ability who wanted to farm. • When the Fast Track Programme was implemented the aim was also to indigenise commercial farming. All Zimbabweans were eligible to become A2 farmers if they showed proof of experience and/or resources. The custodians of ‘stolen land’ are no longer the landless and unemployed, but every Zimbabwe. Two things happen: • The political demand for land becomes infinite, which the government – which controls land - can allocate to the chosen few. • The rich, powerful and well connected party loyalists will muscle their way to the front of the queue for free land.
Land redistribution and political patronage • As the resettlement of landless blacks slowed – only 10,000 families were resettled in the 1990s – land allocations to the ruling elite soared. • In 1994, a scandal erupted with the publication that land acquired for resettlement had been distributed to senior government officials, including ministers and military officers. • By 1999, 400,000 hectares of state-acquired land had been leased to numerous senior government officials and army officers, politicians and business people. • In 2000, government security services orchestrate land invasions known as jambanga and in 2001 settlement targets are set for operation “40 days and 40 nights”. A1 settler selection is based purely on ruling party loyalists seizing land. • The Flora Buka’s Report (2003) listed 30 senior army and police officers, ministers and members of parliament, and senior party officials who owned more than one farm, often by displacing poor and newly settled A1 farmers. • the Utete Committee Report (2003) found that, “The multiplicity of ‘allocating authorities’ gave rise to double allocations, multiple allocations, and favouritism in land allocations.”
Opportunity costs of the Fast Track Programme Opportunity cost is the cost of choosing a less efficient alternative: that is, unskilled A1 and A2 occupiers based on political patronage • Agricultural production foregone: production halved and large swathes of land remained unutilised • Training foregone: +25 year of agricultural training and experience are wasted by settling untrained, unskilled and inexperienced ‘new farmers’ • Inputs foregone: Z$2.09 trillion was spent on ‘new farmers’ in 2004, and less than 40% of loans were repaid • Redistribution methods foregone: Lengthy, costly, bureaucratic methods of administrative land acquisition and allocation • Communal land development foregone: huge expenditure on resettlement sidelines on pro-poor programme and poverty alleviation in communal areas.
Secure property rights promote investment, productivity and liberty • The ability to use land as collateral to secure loans for farm investments and inputs • Land is vested in the people themselves, so they cannot be held hostage to politicians or chiefs • The prime task of the Land Commission will be to put land back into the hands of genuine farmers.
Land transfers through the market • Land is treated as a finite resource whose supply is limited • Demand is limited by the price farmers are prepared to pay for access to land (as an economic resource) • Land is transferred (allocated, bought and sold) through a land market • Direct payments are made by the beneficiary or buyer to the person whose land has been acquired or wishes to sell
Misgiving about a ‘market-assisted’ approaches to land reform • Rich elites will hold land speculatively • The rich will buy up land, leaving others ‘landless’ and destitute • Small farmers will not be able to afford farms • Private land ownership is alien to African culture
A socially responsible land market A legal and institutional framework A land market can be controlled to protect the poor by attaching certain rights and conditions on registered land, such as size, consolidation, subdivision, sale, rent, tax, and so on. A land tax will: • suppress the price of land and reduce its speculative value • encourage subdivision and, hence, smaller and more affordable farms • ensure it is more efficiently and fully utilised • raise revenue Support for new farmers Where farmers have demonstrated that they have the training, skills or experience to farm, they could apply for special government packages to buy farms, including generous loans, with low interest rates and generous repayment schedules. Cultural sensitivities In 1994 the ZFU stated that “a land tenure system based on individual ownership is the only system that assures that individuals develop a long term perspective to land utilisation and development.”
Structural agrarian transformation Structural transformation is a stylised fact of development, whereby an ever greater share of GDP is generated by the manufacturing and service sectors. It is therefore premised on macro-economic stability, an open economy and the attraction of direct foreign investment. It is the process by which people living in the rural areas take up employment opportunities in towns and cities, thus relieving pressure on agricultural land (decongestion). A land market will facilitate this process by: • allowing people to realise the value of their rural land for other assets; • leaving more land to fewer genuine farmers to make a decent livelihood from their agricultural expertise; • encouraging the subdivision of large properties and the consolidation of small properties to break the insidious ‘dual economy’ and create a more egalitarian agrarian structure.
Transformation of the communal areas Commercialisation The promotion of high value crops in the smallholder sector through contract growing, out-grower schemes and syndication. Land tenure reform The gradual introduction of land tenure reforms to unlock the collateral value of land to promote more efficient agricultural production – but only within a framework of democratic participation and the informed consent of communities. Poverty alleviation Government and international assistance can focus on pro-poor programmes and projects, safety nets, and the building of physical and social infrastructure to ensure the livelihoods and well being of the poorest and most vulnerable households.
Conclusion To a brutalised and impoverished people yearning for peace, it is understandable that some believe that a just, transparent and economically sustainable programme is beyond our reach. • This would be a tragic mistake. Peace cannot be bought by sacrificing justice. • We must start thinking now of how we will peal away layer upon layer of unjust and senseless legislation that has stripped Zimbabweans of their constitutional rights, their human rights and dignity, and their property rights. We should start thinking now of how to reconstruct simple, clear and concise constitutional provisions and protections, as well as land and agricultural legislation on which: • to construct a way forward that restores full agricultural productivity; • is founded on justice and the rule of law; • and that brings economic and social recovery for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.
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