Divergent perspectives on the land reform in Zimbabwe

  • Kudzayi Savious Tarisayi University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Keywords: Land reform, Political perspective, Livelihoods perspective, Agricultural productivity, Human rights perspective, Zimbabwe, Grondhervorming, Politieke perspektief, Lewensbestaan perspektief, Landbouproduksie, Menseregte perspektief


A variety of views on land reform in Zimbabwe have emerged in recent years. The background to the discussion on the perspectives on the land reform revealed the significant contribution of the outcome of the February 2000 referendum on the Fast Track Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe. This paper interrogates the various views on land reform in Zimbabwe under four dominant perspectives: the political perspective, livelihoods perspective, human rights perspective and agricultural perspective. The paper shows that there are divergent views within these dominant perspectives. One view within the political perspective holds that the government ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), led by Robert Mugabe, manipulated demand for land to gain political mileage. Views within the political perspective further argue that land reform was used as a weapon against white farmers for allegedly supporting the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party. There was no consensus on what happened to the livelihoods of black farmers after the Fast Track Land Reform Programme. Whereas, within the livelihoods perspectives it was noted that the livelihoods of farmworkers declined.


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