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The land reform is now a joke: Biti slams “parasitic class of landlords”

Outspoken MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti has claimed that the fast track land reform programme conducted in early 2000 has been reduced to being a “joke” by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s under-fire administration.

In this file photo taken on June 01, 2018 MDC Alliance Spokesperson Tendai Biti speaks during a press conference during which he announced that Zimbabwe's opposition parties are calling for electoral reforms ahead of the July 30 general elections and that there will be street demonstrations in the capital Harare on June 5. (AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA)
In this file photo taken on June 01, 2018 then MDC Alliance Spokesperson Tendai Biti speaks during a press conference during which he announced that Zimbabwe’s opposition parties are calling for electoral reforms ahead of the July 30 general elections and that there will be street demonstrations in the capital Harare on June 5. (AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA)

The former Finance minister last week said a brief study on the land reform programme showed some evicted white farmers were returning to their former farms under individual lease agreements with the new black farm beneficiaries.

The Zanu PF administration under the leadership of late former president Robert Mugabe in 2001 embarked on a controversial land reform exercise across the country at the turn of the millennium, which saw thousands of landless Zimbabweans getting land at the expense of more than 4 000 white farmers who were kicked out.

“A cursory study of the land reform process shows the massive existence of leases of acquired land to former white farmers,” Biti said.

The top lawyer called for an urgent land audit to flush out unproductive farmers while also demanding that landowners should be issued offer letters.

“Mashonaland West and the Midlands provinces have the highest number of white lessees. That being the case, the land reform is now a joke. The creation of black land-owning rentier class whose sole function is to extract rent from land is a negation of land reform programme.

“It is a true reflection of how lost and how vacuous Zanu PF under (President) Emmerson (Mnangagwa) has become. This parasitic class of landlords must be expunged.

“An urgent land audit is required to root out these parasites. The sitting white tenants must be given offer letters on one household, one farm principle. More importantly, the black parasitic landlords must pay and fund the US$ 3.5 billion in compensation to whites. Zanu PF is pathetic,” Biti said.

Recently, Mnangagwa signed a US$3.5 billion agreement to pay compensation for developments made on farms the government seized from white farmers. Nehanda Radio

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