White farmers in Zimbabwe are looking to reclaim the land that was violently taken from them nearly two decades ago in a land reform programme under the Mugabe presidency. During this program in the year 2000, white farmers were harshly expelled from the land that they have been farming on for decades in an effort to give blacks who have been marginalized under colonialism to have something of their own within their own country. The Zimbabwean government will be setting up a committee that will aid in helping the white Zimbabwean farmers reclaim what they have lost. However President Emmerson Mnangagwa made a statement this past Saturday saying ‘that will never happen’.
When the land reform program took place in 2000, it was then President Robert Mugabe’s intention to give land to landless blacks who were marginalized under British colonial rule. But many critics have said that because of Mugabe’s decision to act this way it has destroyed the country’s agricultural industry.
It is clear that racial tensions caused Mugabe to enforce the above mentioned program, because Zimbabwe is not the only Southern African country where land distribution and economic distribution are so unevenly dispersed all because of ethnicity. Europeans in Africa experience much better standards of living than their black African countrymen, who are native to the land. Perhaps this may serve as some form of justification towards Mugabe’s actions as he would want to see the natives thrive just as much or even more as the foreigners. However, since the land redistribution was enacted, Zimbabwe has seen a collapsed agricultural industry, which once allowed the country to feed itself but now has become dependent on the importation of food.
One must ask what the natives were not doing when given the land that caused the once sustainable agricultural industry to fail, and what the whites were doing that caused it to thrive when they were in possession of the land. Zimbabwe should be looking to merge the two groups so that each one can teach one in order to rebuild an industry that could give the economy a boost by providing jobs to the people. Making a racial issue out of the distribution of land is not going to help Zimbabwe in any way because it is only going to create further division.
Going back and forth with each other is not going to save the agricultural industry. Dispersing the land evenly amongst both natives and whites and uniting them under the umbrella of ‘Farmer’ would allow them to see each other as one.
Featured image– white settlers in Southern Rhodesia | wikimedia commons
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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