Monday, 10 March 2014

A LAYMAN'S LOOK AT ROBERT MUGABE'S LAND REFORM PROGRAM


This is not a praise piece to Robert Mugabe but an expression of my personal experience of the impact of his policies on my life and my immediate community. I would like to highlight the positive aspects and effects of the land issue and land reform.

I am deliberately leaving out the negatives which the so called independent media have by now discussed, twisted, distorted and exhausted the propaganda rhetoric on behalf of those the land was taken from. This is the propaganda that has resulted in sanctions being slapped on Zimbabwe.

My story, and this is the story of our people, began when I started renting a bottle store at Tambawaguta Business Centre in 2005 and I am still operating up to this day. This was in the midst and the height of the land revolution and I could hardly sell a crate of beer of the low incomes of the community around the business centre.

IMPACT OF THE LAND REFORM ON INCOME LEVEL

My sales were low in the beginning as most of my customers were urban workers and few commuters who passed through the highway.Farm workers from Burma Valley and the Vumba made up part of my customers but their incomes were very low but as the land reform progressed some of the farm workers and members of the local community became land owners. There has been a gradual increase in the income level of the people around the business centre as reflected by increase in business.

The new farmers are into timber harvesting, tobacco, maize and other cash crops and they can afford to stop and buy as they pass through on their way to and from town.
The land revolution has had a positive aspect on the income level on local households. Initially the people who were allocated land in the Vumba began harvesting timber and sawmills were established at our business centre. This development created employment for the locals especially the youths, the income had a ripple effect on the immediate micro-economy.

The increase of income levels had an amazing impact as  the locals were now employed as workers in the  timber processing industry. Those who had land could afford to hire labour to attend to their fields and this had a ripple effect on the immediate micro economy.

The locals would now afford to by basic farming implements, fund electrification of their homes and improve their lives. Cellphones and satellite televisions could now be afforded and the local shops were electrified .The local shops could now be able to stock perishable goods as electric  freezers  and microwave stoves were now able to function.

CREATION OF MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT

The land reform program has created work and meaningful employment for the locals as the
skills which the youth acquired in the Vumba on timber processing are now being transferred elsewhere. Skills like machine operating, logging, mechanics, welding and management and marketing  which the locals have acquired have seen locals working in timber estates in Nyanga,Penhalonga and Chimanimani.

The local economy is benefiting directly and indirectly from the land reform program even though the timber in the Vumba has been depleted. Income earned elsewhere is being ploughed back into the local community.

It is my hope that the new farmers in Vumba start replacing the pine trees and create further continuous employment and income for the local community.

THE LAND REFORM AND LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE

In 2005 the business centre had nine shops and of these only one had electricity and four were operating. The local joke was that if you want to see electricity you must go to Burma. The Burma electricity line was for the white farmers and it passed overhead of the community.

Today as I write only three shops out of the nine do not have electricity and eight shops are operating. The avaliabilty of electricity is a direct result of the land reform program and Rural Electrification program.Locals are now engaged in meaningful income generating activities such as welding ,hairdressing and other activities that need electricity.

THE LAND REFORM AND ROBERT MUGABE
It is my belief that those who doubt the land reform should look around their communities and see the positive impacts and acknowledge its successes. In my opinion we should applaud the country’s astute leadership and the vision of Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

Let us discount the Rhodesian propaganda which has been used to court sanctions against our country to the dustbin of history.It is my belief that without the illegal economic sanctions and the chicanery of the Rhodesian sponsored opposition  Zimbabwe would be in a better economic position than where it is today.

(c)All rights reserved Thornbridge Investments 2014

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