Land grabs unlikely to develop economy

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

THESE are the days of our lives. No policy consistency ever comes from ruling Zanu PF officials.

Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that the government would intensify land grabs targeting the few remaining white farmers, multiple farm owners and reduce farm sizes to consolidate the land reform programme and ensure economic stability.

Mnangagwa said after achieving political stability, the government’s new thrust was to resuscitate the country’s agro-based economy.

A fortnight ago, Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora said the government would now allow joint farming ventures between new black farmers and white commercial farmers after President Robert Mugabe had earlier threatened to repossess land from those partnering with whites.

Confusion is already reigning after the ouster of alleged “bad apples”. But we have long learnt that this behaviour is not out of the ordinary.

Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora
Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora

Zanu PF’s track record has been consistent only through its inconsistency over the last three decades. The new VP speaks as if he represents a transitional government when he knows his party is responsible for the mess Zimbabwe finds itself in. His threats, if honest, should not spare any multiple farm owners, including the First Family.

Targeting only farms owned by those out of favour with the faction in power would be nothing but retribution, as long as the First Family, some ministers, service chiefs and other senior civil servants in the “right basket” remain multiple farm owners.

May we remind the VP that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to develop our country for as long as policies appear designed to deliver short-term political gains for the president rather than long-term economic benefits.

Political point scoring has taken primacy over actually coming to grips with economic problems. Without a clear economic vision or efforts to build trust among investors and politicians, Zimbabwe’s economic performance is bound to further deteriorate.

Presently the economy is stuck in an abyss with little hope of rescue because of perpetual policy inconsistencies that deter investment. Investors are looking for clear terms of reference and an economic vision.

Zimbabweans want to know how the government will address economic structural deficiencies instead of Mnangagwa’s verbal assurance that “now we are focusing on developing our country”.