Someone once said the following story. “There were baboons that used to steal maize meal and other crops from a farmers fields. The farmer was a vegan and conservationist, as such he didn’t believe in shooting the animals to get rid of them. This led to the troop of baboons growing to a huge number. The farmer was happy to share his harvest and continue to grow his crops, but the baboons were unruly and did not want to compromise.
Eventually the baboons drove the farmer off his land. The baboons used to rely on the food from the farmers field as he was an expert in farming. The next harvest time came and all the baboons started to wonder why there was no food in the land that used to be occupied by the farmer. Even the farmers house was empty.
Trivialising and simplifying (making fun of) an issue such as this is not done without good purpose. It is necessary to get to the point. Now you have to ask yourself, do those who have the majority of farm land in Zimbabwe use the farm land to the fullest? Is the land being used to benefit the peoples’ or is the land benefiting some people. The simplest answer is a fact. The land is being used for the benefit of those who rule, run and support ZANU PF only.
Zimbabwe used to be called the bread basket of Africa with so many tonnes of excess food given out to Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, the then Zaire and Angola. Now, today, food is being used as a political tool. Most of the food aid in pictures following cyclone Idai and videos is not made in Zimbabwe at all, it seems to be coming from as far away as the Arabian countries.. Most of the food eaten in Zimbabwe is not made in Zimbabwe at all, this has led to the trade deficit on food alone being so great it will most likely take a miracle to turn this around if everything stays the same.
With targeted sanctions on the leaders of ZANU PF, ZRP and ZNA and the same leaders actually owning the highest proportions of the land that was owned by the former commercial farmers, one wonders if they will ever start to try and restore property rights at all by giving back the land, or give this property to the masses on free holds instead of lease holds, which thus far have led to a self imposed sanction on the country.
They, the current occupiers of the land are not able to get loans against the land they hold to be able to produce crops as there is no trust in the property rights within Zimbabwe by the banking system which is international in the Global village. The fact that recently there have been farm ownership disputes between, the white farmers who have returned to Zimbabwe and those who were given lease holdings in previous years, for being War veterans or Zanu PF members, only adds to this lack of trust in the property rights within Zimbabwe, by the international money markets. They look at Zimbabwe as a very high risk investment destination, as such, the capital invested is extremely miniscule when compared to the amounts invested in countries that have stronger property rights. Further more, the returns on investments are expected within a short space of time and are exponentially higher when investing in Zimbabwe when compared to investing in other neighbouring countries.
It is a fact in the property world that a Freehold title, is much more sought after and valuable than a lease hold title. This is especially so when the lease hold titles can not be seen to last for more than 20 years. It was between 2000 to 2010 that most white farmers not loyal to ZANU PF lost their land to various rogue elements that were linked to and whose actions were later legalised by a seemingly reactionary government and ruling party.
Most thought that this was the right thing to do. “Take from the whites as they can go home to Europe where they come from,” they all shouted. Little did they know, it was just a way to make people angry and upset. To rally up their support base into doing bad things and support the then Government of Robert Mugabe. This was done without realising that, after those whites are gone, its you next.
The degradation of Human rights started many years back in Gukurahundi. Then, the Ndebele were massacred in their Tens of Thousands by a well armed national army and the infamous fifth brigade. The atrocities were swept under the carpet. To this day, full evidence and investigations have not been carried out.
Later on, after the white farmers were gone, the individual rights of simple citizens started to be worn away by a Government that only knows the art of intimidation, violence, torture and repression. So as the days tick on by, and the first and second waves, of the unchallenged army shootings of unarmed civilians, in the streets of a capital city, by an incompetent, unfit to lead, government in Zimbabwe, the question of whether or not there will ever be a restoration of human rights, is parallel with the question of whether or not there will ever be a restoration of property rights, or will a natural death by hunger of the baboons troop, lead to the return of the farmer one day?