By Takasununguka Ziki
1890 saw the white man setting foot in the land between the Zambezi and the Limpopo. This marked the advent of colonialism and the onset of the expropriation of land previously owned by the indigenous inhabitants, Madzimbahwe.
Fast forward 1980, independence was achieved after a protracted war of Liberation that was terminated at the Lancaster House conference that ended with the signing of the infamous Lancaster House agreement on the 21st of December 1979.
One arrangement that was part of the agreement was on the contentious issue of the Land. Lord Carrington in chair had made it apparently clear that an agreement had to be reached to bring to finality the Rhodesian question.
With the advent of colonization, the indigenous black folk was indefinitely denied of their liberties in a nation they had known to be theirs. The Lancaster House agreement created a problem that continues to haunt the new post independent Zimbabwean government to this day.
Clause V of the agreement states categorically and emphatically, in an unwavering manner thus:
“Every person will be protected from having his property compulsorily acquired except when the acquisition is in the interests of defense, public safety, public order, public morality,
public health, town and country planning, the development or utilization of that or other
property in such a manner as to promote the public benefit or, in the case of under- utilized land, settlement of land for agricultural purposes. When property is wanted for one of these purposes, its acquisition will be lawful only on condition that the law provides for the prompt payment of adequate compensation and, where the acquisition is contested, that a court order is obtained. A person whose property is so acquired will be guaranteed the right of access to
the High Court to determine the amount of compensation.”
It is this very clause that has continued to haunt us to this day, saddled with the willing buyer willing seller basis of all land acquisition agreements. Here “Every Person ” refers to the white man
As poverty kept creeping in and the political awareness and impatience of the generality of Zimbabweans was awoken, attempts to address the land imbalance was initiated led by War Veterans who “invaded” the once white owned commercial farms to bring to finality a spontaneous answer to the land question. All other attempts to legally acquire land where met with resistance based on a scheme known as the willing buyer willing seller basis.
The willing buyer willing seller basis always meant two essential things :
1. that even if there was a willingness to buy there had to be an equal willingness to sell on the other side.
2.That there was never going to be any land acquired freely. All land had to be either bought or compensated for to be acquired.
The move by the generality of Zimbabweans led by the War Veterans was never supported by any piece of legislation since the attempt was to “grab” land without any form of payment or compensation no wonder why the fast tracking of the land reform and promulgation of a law that sought to legalize the whole process. The nation lived at the mercy of the law that came into force in a flawed and compromising agreement at Lancaster. That same agreement gave credence to a false belief that the white minority populace had power over the land and no one could compulsorily expropriate it.
In defiance of the demonic provisions of the lancaster agreement, government initiated the compulsory acquisition of the land. This time acquisition was never on a willing seller willing buyer basis. Any compensation was said to be supposed to be done for developments done by the former farmer whose land would have been acquired.
The government then, argued that the British government had the sole responsibility to compensate their kith in the former white farmers lay squarely in the British government.
After the early 2000s, problem after problem began riddling the Zimbabwean populace and economy. Sanctions where passed on Zimbabwean individuals in the name of targeted sanctions.
To pass the sanctions an Act of Parliament was passed in USA and was named ZIDERA. These falsely labeled sanctions had a list attached to them of individuals and companies that could not do any business with Britain, USA, EU and it’s allies.
Since the passing of ZIDERA after its introduction by US Senators Bill Frist and Russ Feingold on March 8, 2001, Zimbabwe has never known neither peace nor prosperity as the Act completely incapacitates the economy by tying the hands of the economy at its back.
(To be continued)
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