Small-scale land grabbing in Greater Gaborone, Botswana
Keywords:land grabbing, small-scale land grabbing, Gaborone, Botswana
Most of the studies on land grabbing tend to focus on the acquisition of large tracts of land by transnational companies interested in biofuel and/or food-crop production. The practice has been applauded for enhancing food security, creating cash employment for local communities, and providing renewable energy sources. It has also been criticised for benefitting a few local elites and disadvantaging the poor and marginalised communities. This article attempts to analyse the phenomenon of small-scale land grabbing in urban and peri-urban areas. A literature review method was adopted; searches included online databases, in particular Google Scholar, Web of Science and ResearchGate and the University of Botswana Catalogue (UBRISA). Relevant references cited in downloaded articles are reviewed, until additional searches did not lead to new findings. Using ‘land grabbing’ as a tool for analysis, the article makes an audit of two reports by presidential/judicial commissions of inquiry into problems of land allocations in and around Gaborone to uncover land-grab deals and processes in communal and state-owned land in Botswana. The audit revealed that land grabbing in Greater Gaborone is an imperceptible process carried out by politicians, chiefs, businessmen, the elite and other people who understand the market value of urban and peri-urban land. The process has compromised urban land governance, poor people’s rights to the city, housing, community, recreational facilities, and increased socio-economic inequalities in the city. Finally, the article underscores the need to undertake further studies and audits to collect empirical data on the exact nature and extent of land grabbing in urban and peri-urban areas.
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