DELAYED REGULARISATION AND
UNCERTAINTY AMONG THE LAND INVADERS IN ZIMBABWE FROM 2000-2017: THE CASE OF
DELCIA AND RONDOR AREAS IN CHAKARI.
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BACHELOR OF ARTS DUAL HONOURS
DEGREE IN GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY
ONE: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND TO THE
land related alienation has been a dominant factor in.the
history of Zimbabwe since the establishment of the colonial rule. As from ‘the’ attainment of the
Zimbabwean independence in 1980, various efforts have ‘been put forward’ to address the land question but the
process is not yet over. Following a slow and ‘orderly’ redistribution of land
between 1980 and 1999, the government embarked on the so called ‘violent and forceful’ land redistribution by
the name Fast Track Land Reform Programme FTLRP (Mubaye, 2005). This. phase has seen a major
transformation in the policies governing land ownership. This has been commonly
termed the Third Chimurenga by the ruling party and it resulted in the
acquisition of some 11 million hectares, from white commercial farmers for
redistribution in a process often characterized by violence and coercion (Sachikonye, 2003).
Background to the Study
land issue in Zimbabwe can be traced back to more than a century. According to
Mubaye (2005), in 1880 ‘white Europeans’ carved up Africa for themselves’ on a map, where Britain
got land in Southern Africa. In 1890’s, the ‘native’ blacks tried to resist these seizures of their ‘heritage (land)’ and freedom thereby
fighting against the colonial rule and its land related injustices. However,
they failed to win the battle called the first Chimurenga War which means, Struggle for Liberation (Moyo, 2004).
Given the upper hand, the settlers chased the black natives into the selected
reserves in the most unfertile and dry regions of the country before and after
the first Chimurenga. According to Mubaye (2005), by 1923 these new settlers
owned over one sixth of the land in Rhodesia; thereby displacing the previous
indigenous owners. He further pointed of that, the white minority comprised 3% of the
population yet controlled 75% of the economically viable land while the 97%
black Zimbabweans controlled only 23% of the overcrowded and unfertile
1930, ‘the Rhodesian government passed the Land Apportionment
Act in which the separation of land between the blacks and whites was formalized
and legalized where ’50
000’ white farmers
received 49 million acres while the 1.1 million Zimbabweans were settled on 29
million acres of native reserve areas (Scoones et al, 2011). This forced the blacks who had survived on
agriculture to become cheap labourers for the farmers on the large settler tea,
coffee, tobacco and cotton farms (Mubaye, 2005). Given this continued
economic, social and political injustice, nothing could stop the Zimbabwean
people to ‘take up
arms’ once again
and fight for their land in the Second Chimurenga.
Second Chimurenga and the Land question”
historians agreed that, the major cause of the Second Chimurenga was the land
question. The guerrillas fought the war so that they could get back a fair share of the land that ‘rightfully” belonged to them
(Chamunorwa, 2010). However, it is
generally known that through the Lancaster House Conference, land reform was
one of the main issues to be resolved but Britain refused to address it as per
Zimbabwean expectation. According to Mubaye (2005) the British and American
governments made commitments to assist the Zimbabwean government financially so
as to acquire the land on a ‘willing seller, willing buyer agreement’ which was in the
British-skewed constitution. This policy which was valid for ten years from ‘1980, only allowed the
government to acquire land for redistribution only from sellers who were
willing to sell ( Moyo, 2004). This policy was a major reason that led to
unchanged land situation in post-independence Zimbabwe. Given the fertile and
productive land the white farmers had along with the booming agricultural
production in terms of tobacco, cotton and maize, very few farmers were willing
to sell their land to the government for land redistribution. Even if they did
however, the government had very little financial resources after ‘independence’ to buy the land for
resettlement (Zikhali, 2008).
In 1980, the government promised to resettle
162 000 farmers by 1990 when the “willing buyer, willing seller” agreement gets
expired but surprisingly, by 1990 the government had not reached half of its
target for several reasons. The reasons include the “willing buyer and seller agreement,
shortage of capital to buy the land and develop it for resettlement, corruption
within government (Mubaye, 2005). Given
that kind of trickery, over half of the land was still in the hands of the
whites, the landless blacks did not enjoy what they fought for in the Second
Chimurenga and they look forward to their government to act upon the land
question without delay.
The revised land reform policy from
response to the needs and will of the people of Zimbabwe, the government came
up with newly revised land reform policy thereby passing the ‘Land Acquisition
Act’ in 1992 in order to speed up the
land reform process through compulsory acquisition of land (Tshuma, 1997).
According to Mubaye (2005) studies carried out by the World Bank indicated that
large scale commercial farmers were utilizing less than half of the 11m
hectares of land they owned while most of the black natives were landless.
However, this law did not satisfy the will of the people of getting back their
land because it was ‘only’ applied to rural, land since the
government also depended on the outputs of these farmers. Commenting on this,
Mubaye (2005) has it that, the Land Acquisition Act of 1992 proved to be a
failure since one million ‘black
still living in overcrowded communal lands up to 1998.
The Third Chimurenga:
1998 – Present
the failure of the Land Acquisition Act and the cut of Donor aid for land
acquisition, landless blacks began to invade farms and seize white owned land
by the year 2000 under the leadership of the war veterans of the Chimurenga war
(Scoones et al, 2011). Surprisingly, the government allowed them to do so and
did nothing to stop them. Mubaye (2005) suggest that, they invaded about 1000
farms where 150 00 farm workers lost not only their jobs, but homesteads in the
process of land invasions. Given the nature and means of acquiring land from
2000 onwards, it remains undeniable that these invaders are ‘uncertain and
the year 2000, the government began to implement the fast track land reform
program FTLRP in response to the invasions led by war veterans. In 2002, it
passed the Land Acquisition Amendment Act to put a formal structure to the
ongoing fast track land reform program (Moyo, 2004). Commenting on the positive side of the Fast
Track Land Reform Program, Mubaye (2005) has this to say: ‘What was failed in a space of ten years, resettling 172 000 families in
post-independence land reform, was achieved in a space of 4 years, as a total
of 350, 000 households have been resettled’. Hence, though there is varied and complex
consequences of the FTLRP, it managed resettle a number of people where most
farmers have been allocated 12 acre plots.
the fast track land reform program is far from being over and successful despite
the successful resettling of this ‘significant’ number of people.
During this period of resettlement between 2000 and 2003, agricultural production fell
by 25% (Mubaye, 2005). A significant portion of this drop is due to the FTLRP
and invasions of 2000 to 2003 which resulted in resettling of farmers without
knowledgeable and capital in commercial farming, especially on a large scale
and in farming of some of the cash crops such as tobacco (Zikhali, 2008).
to the research made by The Zimbabwe Institute (2017), through the land audit
conducted by Minister Flora Buka (early 2003) and by establishing the Utete
Land Review Committee (2003) and the Presidential Land Resettlement Committee
(2004), the government has tacitly conceded that the land reform programme has
experienced a number of problems, despite public statements to the contrary.
Surprisingly, even the government-controlled newspapers, The Herald and The Sunday Mail, concurs that major problems are
emerging with the land reform programme, with growing allegations and reports
from all provinces indicating that not all is well with the scheme (Sachikonye,
2003). This recognition and awareness of the government put the newly settled
farmers under insecure and uncertain conditions as they truly realise their
weakness in commercial farming on the ground.
the fact that, the FTLRP invasions have been carried out even without fully
considering the legal documentation has forced the government to make follow
ups through the ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement. These follow ups were
meant to formalise the post 2000 land invaders through the provision of offer
letters, pegging and resettling people in an organised way while addressing the
problems emanating from the land invasion (Zikhali, 2008). This is not an
unknown issue to the government of Zimbabwe but the major problem of this after
invasion formalisation or regularisation is that up to now, not all post 2000 land invaders are
such a situation of delayed regularisation of some of the post 2000 land
invaders, both regularised farmers and those that are not regularised are
‘uncertain and insecure’. Hence, they have a lot of questions without answers
of which this study seeks to answer. Some of their major questions which shows
that these farmers are not certain and secure are as follows:
Questions among the
we not going to be evicted since other land invaders ‘like us’ have not been
regularised or formalised. Can the offer letter save us?
the continuous inflow of illegal settlers not going to penetrate into our
regularised plots using their political muscles thereby threatening our land
we not going to be removed since we are failing to till the land up to the
the government change, are we going to continue occupying this land since we
are not free holders of this land but 99 year lease holders?
Questions among the
illegal settlers (those without offer letters)
the government is delaying regularisation of other post 2000 land invaders of
which it is the one which promoted it? Is it not that it is subtly planning to
turn against us?
it not that, the government has realised its negative impacts and is deciding
to reverse it?
offer letters, what is the reason for me to protect the environment, built
meaningful structures or develop the area?
light of this background, it is clear that the FTLRP and the land reform in
general remains an ‘unfinished business’ since not all post 2000 land invaders
have been granted offer letters while ZANU PF MPs and Councillors are said to
have been using land as a campaigning tool; particularly in Chakari
Constituency. Since the invasion of Delcia and Rondor areas in Chakari
constituency around 2000-2008, some areas are still falling under illegal
settlement without offer letters. Hence, from their arrival people were urged
to keep calm while waiting for offer letters from lands office being processed
by MPs and Councillors but nothing has been done successfully up to now.
Therefore, there is uncertainty among both ‘illegal’ and regularised farmers
who invaded the land under the FTLRP and because of this, many problems are a
It is therefore the main thrust of this study
is to determine the implications of this delay for regularisation of land
invaders and uncertainty among beneficiaries of the FTLRP and find out possible
ways to deal with those problems. It is of great importance to note that, this
research also seeks to provide recommendations to the government in order for
it to give total assurance to its newly settled farmers through the informed
dealings with the illegal settlers whom the government is said to have been
once supported in order to drive away white settlers.
Aim of the Study
determine the causes and effects of the delayed regularisation and uncertainty
among the post 2000 land invaders in the context of Delcia and Rondor areas in
explore strategies used to acquire land and what drives the development of the
illegal settlements in the context of Rondor and Delcia areas as from
assess the environmental, socio-economic and political implications of the
delayed regularisation and uncertainty among the post 2000 land invaders in
Rondo and Delcia areas in Chakari.
recommend what can be done to deal with the problems associated delayed
regularisation and uncertainty among the illegal rural settlers in Chakari and
other areas facing the same problems in Zimbabwe.
Statement of the
all the government efforts to legalise the post 2000 land invaders in Zimbabwe,
some areas remained unattended and therefore they are still falling under
illegal settlements. This has led to continuous inflow of migrants from various
parts of Zimbabwe into these invaded areas hoping to be legalised and as a
result land conflicts between the black farm holders, former Whiteman farm
workers and the land invaders became inevitable. Apart from that, this
situation has led to uncertainty and lack of land tenure security among the
rest of the post 2000 land invaders.
addition, environmental degradation, poor infrastructure development and
disorder became the order of the day. Various researchers have written about
the land invasion in Zimbabwe but little research has been done at local level
to determine the implications of the delayed regularisation and uncertainty
among the post 2000 land invaders these in the context of Chakari. Therefore,
this calls for more research in order to come up with detailed explanations on
the main causes and the implications of delayed regularisation and uncertainty
among the post 2000 land invaders under the Fast Tract Land Reform Program
FTLRP in the context of Delcia and Rondor areas of Chakari Constituency.
Significance of the
generally a held view that earlier historical writers focused much on rewriting
political histories of Great Cities and Kings. This study is an attempt to
focus on the previously overlooked societies especially in the rural areas. The
‘political and great
which dominate historical works in Zimbabwe have done very little to appreciate
the rural populace in particular and this has for long robbed history of our
rural and remotes societies (Mazarire, 2009). Therefore, this
study assumes more social and economic bias towards appreciating the history of
the Delcia and Turkois areas in Chakari.
researcher also chose Chakari as the case area because Chakari has received
very little attention in terms of historical writing itself. Some attempts to
accommodate the history of Chakari were made especially on linguistics but very
little has been captured on the social –political and economic history of this
of Chakari has been selected due to its richness in both fertile lands and gold
deposits (Jakaza, 2005). This made it an area of great interest since it
attracted people of various backgrounds during and after the colonial era. Land
conflicts, high crime rate and cultural degradation became inevitable and this
proves that such an area is worth studying. Apart from that, Chakari seems to
have unique means of survival in times of trouble due to availability of gold
and woodland resources.
reason for the selection of Chakari as a case study is the fact that, this area
has been directly and indirectly affected by the Federation of Rhodesia,
Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. This can be witnessed by the presence of
Zambian and Malawian citizens who came to Zimbabwe as migrant labourers during
the rule of Federal government in Zimbabwe. This has the possibility of causing
identity crisis and tribal conflicts due to the inflow of Zimbabweans from
reserves into the formerly foreign dominated land of Chakari.
period from 2000-2017 has been selected due to the fact that, in 2000 the
government of Zimbabwe has launched the FTLRP. Apart from that, in 2008 many
people suffered from famine, inflation and political instability in Zimbabwe.
These problems and the launched FTLRP forced many people from various parts of
Zimbabwe to out-migrate from their rural areas in search of gold, fertile lands
and jobs. Finally, most of these migrants ended up quitting mining activities
and try to focus on land invasion to practice both mining and farming without
necessary documentation but due to the claim that, they were ZANU PF supporters
and some as liberation war veterans.
study also intends to bring out the negative impacts of delayed regularisation
of land invaders in Chakari so as to formulate measures against such impacts.
Through this research Chakari residence, policy makers, and local council shall
be aware of negative impacts of activities being carried out in that area.
Therefore, without such an action research, these negative activities or
impacts might continue to the point where corrections and reclamation will be
It is hoped that policy makers and ministry of
lands and resettlement will find this research to be valuable in providing
useful information on what is the better devil to delay or regularise land invaders
in Zimbabwe with immediate effect. Given the fact that, the population of
Zimbabwe is growing at a faster rate and by so doing demand for land is also
increasing. Therefore, most of unoccupied land is at risk from illegal invasion
throughout the country and if these invaders are not regularised there might be
perilous damage to the environment and wildlife.
from that, the government of Zimbabwe will be aware of the fact that some of
the basic service delivery are not at all provided to some of its citizens of
simply because they are regarded as illegal settlers yet they have nowhere to
go. This call for informed decision to downsize some farms and regularise these
land invaders so that, they settle in right manner with peace of mind so that we
all take an active part in developing our Great nation, Zimbabwe. In addition,
it is hoped that access to clean water, health services, government input
schemes and education shall be incorporated in the process of regularisation of
land invaders in Chakari and the whole country at large through the use of
findings from this study.
all it is hoped that, this research will also justify the regularisation of
land invaders since they have no option as to where they can pitch their tents
unless the government has positively responded to their needs. According to the
pilot observations made, these land invaders contributed a reasonable tonnage
to the Grain Marketing Board G.M.B. Therefore, given the opportunity of being
regularised and assume the privilege of getting government input schemes, these
settlers proved that, they will contributed to the growth and development of
are the source regions of land invaders in Chakari and what pushed them from
their original place of residence?
are the main causes of uncertainty and land ownership insecurity among the post
2000 land invaders Chakari?
are the positive and negative implications of the delayed regularisation and
uncertainty among the post 2000 land invaders?
can be done to curb the negative impacts of delayed regularisation and
uncertainty among the post 2000 land invaders in Zimbabwe?