Land Resettlement In Post-Colonial Zimbabwe: A Look Into The Government Land Resettlement Approaches

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Tigere Paidamoyo Muringa
Gilbert Tinashe Zvaita

Abstract

In Zimbabwe, ever since the government embarked on a disastrous land reform agenda in the early 2000s, the issue of land reform and its social-economic effects, such as relocating people, remained a bone of contention. Extensive research has shown that land reform laws and relocation approaches in some remote areas of Zimbabwe are politicised and not consistent and, therefore, catastrophic. However, most studies in land reform and resettlement have been limited, persistently focusing on the impacts and constitutionality of Zimbabwe’s 2000s land reform program. This study seeks to contribute to the land reform debate by examining the Zimbabwean government’s land reform and relocation activities between 2015 and 2021 using a case study of the Chilonga and Mazoe governmentled resettlement programmes. Three key empirical questions are asked - What are the government’s intended strategies when relocating the Chilonga and Mazoe people? Is there any resemblance with the colonial resettlement approaches? What legal instruments were used, and were they constitutionally justified? Data for this study was drawn mainly from a systematic review of documents and interviews with key informants and victims (n=40) of the government-led resettlements. Analysis shows that the government’s resettlement approaches bear a significant resemblance to the unconstitutional procedures the colonial government employed. We argue that the government’s post-2000 land reform laws, especially between 2015 and 2021, must be cleansed of the colonial elements that allow the government to manipulate the laws to suit their political needs at the expense of the general populace.

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