Tsvangirai Expands Land Invasions

Having destroyed crop farming in Zimbabwe and driven the country into hunger and poverty, the Zimbabwe Inclusive Cabinet, of which Tsvangirai is Deputy Chairman, has now officially adopted a policy to expand land invasions and go after game farms such as the one in the photo above. They are going to destroy that as well, as they eye rich pickings they think are coming from the World Cup in South Africa in 2010

Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 October 2009

Now, this is just shocking news coming out of Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Inclusive Cabinet of Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe has now taken an official policy decision to go after game farms and conservancies in a disastrous expansion of the land Reform Programme.

Game farms and Conservancies were off-limits under the previous Mugabe policy of Land Reform, which stipulated that only crop farming land would be taken over to give landless blacks rich farming land that had previously been in the hands of whites only.

The State announced over the weekend that cabinet had resolved that these game farms and conservancies will no longer be immune from forcible acquisition.

Previously, in a move that was both sensible and economically sound, the policy was that only farming land would be targeted in order to resettle landless blacks. Game farms and conservancies would be left alone because, generally, nothing could be grown on these.

I for instance, am an avid fisherman and frequent a game farm in the Midlands province which has several dams on it for its lions, zebra, buck, giraffe etc. The owners, white Zimbabweans who have been here for three generations, all speak fluent Shona and Ndebele and actively work with nearby villagers.

This game farm was previously a cattle ranch, but it proved unsuitable even for that purpose and the owners were forced to take the route of rearing wild animals. I know they have spent huge sums of money buying wildlife, like lions and rhinos from all over, including even South Africa.

Now, the government of Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe says they must hand over a large chunk of their shareholding in these farms to black people who will not be required to pay a single cent.

It is a travesty of the laws of the land and also the laws of natural justice. I am at a loss as to why the MDC agreed to this in cabinet. It is a recipe for disaster and a moving of goalposts that does nothing to reassure investors who are jittery about Zimbabwe's atrocious record on the protection of private property rights.

This latest move, even by the admission of the Inclusive Government itself, has nothing to do with resettling landless people. It is an attack on private investments, pure and simple. It is designed to "redistribute wealth" in the classic socialist style.

We know that the MDC is indeed a socialist party, like ZANU PF, which is why there is ideological difference between them and ZANU PF. But, as I pointed out years ago in the Daily News when it was still publishing, socialism is only for those who want to reap where they did not sow. It takes away from motivation to invest from private capital and this is what this new policy is doing.

But this should not really surprise us at all, because the MDC never had any policies of its own. This is why they are now simply swallowing the rubbish dished out by ZANU PF in this government. Which is why they are comfortable to have their co-Minister of Home Affairs sign papers violating the rights of Zimbabweans.

They have no other programme apart from creating space at the feeding trough for themselves.

You see, there was no need for this policy at all. We have one of the most admired policies on Widlife Management in the world, called CAMPFIRE, which is designed to ensure that local communities benefit from game farming and to also ensure that the exploitation of game in Zimbabwe is a sustainable activity by getting the surrounding villagers to buy into the whole idea and not engage in poaching and so on.

Yet the new policy announced by Government says that its purpose is to ensure that locals benefit from game farming.

What's wrong with CAMPFIRE? Nothing.

So why go this route?

The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is coming, and this government and its greedy politicians in both the MDC and ZANU PF think that they should position themselves now to benefit from the windfall they expect as tourists flood the country during the World Cup.

None of these game farms will given to poor people. They will all be parcelled out to politicians and the well-connected.

It is a matter of greed, pure and simple.

There is another angle to this: Because, when the government took over farming land, they thought farming was a walk in the park, where they would harvest and benefit from fully-developed farms without much effort. This has proved to be not the case.

Like children who have broken all their toys, the Government now is looking around at the toys of neighbouring children with a view to taking them and destroying them as well.

"The money is in game farming," they are telling themselves. But even this also needs good hard work and before long, you will see this industry destroyed while the MDC looks on or joins in the looting.

It is now clear that there will be no progress under ZANU PF or MDC because both are clueless, greedy and corrupt.

This is coming as the Inclusive Government makes useless noises about tourism and the 2010 World Cup. Yet they are destroying the very foundation of tourism in Zimbabwe.


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