Land reform cost 1,5m jobs: Chinamasa

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s controversial programme to redistribute land taken from white farmers cost 1,5 million jobs, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.

“Right now our economy is highly informalised. I always give the statistics that in 1999 or thereabout, there were two million workers in the formal sector, by the time we reached 2005, because of the revolution in the land reform programme, the formal sector collapsed and the two million formal workers dwindled to half a million and could be just about less,” Chinamasa told the Senate last week.

“It is our responsibility to now move that economy from the informal and back to the formal again. That is the transition which we are now travelling. I am very happy with the progress that we are making so far.  It is a process and not an event, it cannot happen overnight.”

Critics say the country’s once strong agricultural base has been damaged by the chaotic land redistribution programme.

President Robert Mugabe introduced land reforms in 1999 aimed at addressing colonial imbalances whereby a few white farmers own most of the best agricultural land in Zimbabwe.

More than 4 000 farmers were forcibly evicted from their land in often violent struggles. The violence — and allegations of rigged elections and rights abuses — led western donors to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

“... in the agricultural sector...we were talking about 4 000 (white) farmers. There is no way an economy can grow and expand when a vital productive asset like land is held by one or two people.

“So, it is important that we realise that because we moved from that ownership of land and now we have the A1 farmers. We distributed that land to about 350 000 households, you can also multiply the number of people who are dependent on that piece of land. Now, that change caused disruption in our productive system. So, initially there was a fall of production, everyone was laughing at us.”

“I cannot see how we could have gone from that skilled land ownership to the current one where it is now owned by the majority of our people, without a transition.

“There has to be a transition and what we are talking about here Madam president is how to manage that transition from yesterday to today and tomorrow,” he said.

Comments (4)

That chaotic disruption didn't have to be. It could have been more orderly done if it wasn't for your love of power, cutting the hands that fed you.

Zuze - 26 May 2017

Mr Editor you are wrong to claim that Grand Pa Mugabe introduced the Land Reform programme to correct colonial or historical imbalances. That is a lie. Mugabe started the chaotic programme of seizing white owned farms to punish the white farmers for supporting MDC. Period. Of course, those white farmers were naive to openly support Tsvangirai. Mugabe is a killer. He does not forgive. Ask Joshua Nkomo or Ndabaningi Sithole

dick mboko - 26 May 2017

I geuss Zimbabweans have been sleep walking to think that there was land distribution. It stated as land garbing the chaos now no one can tell when your nightmare will end. The Kenyian

John Karanja - 27 May 2017

chinamasa is talking a lot but saying nothing, like his president. why did you take a destructive path (yemadofo) when there were many sustainable alternatives?

Sagitarr - 28 May 2017

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.