Local perceptions of the fast track land reform programme (FTLRP) in Umguza resettlement scheme in Zimbabwe
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Fast track land reform in Zimbabwe has caused a raging debate drawing a lot of attention to the re-distribution programme. The invasion of commercial farms had a bearing on agricultural production, food security, security of tenure, rule of law and respect for property rights. This thesis examines the implications of such a frayed land reform resulting in strained donor and government relations. The crux of the argument is that land reform is harmful and damaging when the rule of law is flouted, directly impacting on social and power relations at grassroots level. These strained relations result from a lack of commitment by government, external donors and white commercial farmers to correct land injustices from the colonial period and ineffective agencies of restraint. This thesis will test these perceptions and views basing on the experiences of the grassroots people. It will also attempt to test whether the land question in Zimbabwe has finally been resolved or there are still aspects to it that need attention, since land reform is often viewed in moral and political terms. Was poverty alleviation prioritized in fast track land reform by giving land to the landless poor; to help redress population imbalances or meant to reward those who struggled for liberation? The thesis attempts to answer the question of ‘equity’ or restructuring of access over production and ownership of land. It then questions the equity trump card as touted by the government. Did the government commit another injustice while trying to redress past injustices by overlooking the rightful claimants in favour of entrenching state power? This thesis contributes to the raging debate on fast track land reform in Zimbabwe, using the case study of UMguza resettlement scheme.