Transition Barometer – land section

Zimbabwe Transition Barometer Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition


7.0 Barometer Indicator 7: Land Question (Save Conservancy and Masvingo Initiative)

7.1 Source of Barometer Indicator

Article V of the GPA speaks to the inevitability of the land reform and as well endorses the 2000 Fast-track Land Resettlement Programme as an irreversible and final process. The GPA further instructs the IG to conduct a land audit and eliminate multiple farm ownership, provide equal access of land to all Zimbabweans and to restore full productivity on agricultural land.

7.2 Key Prevailing Issues

• This is one indicator where almost nothing has literally happened as the IG partners have all remained silent on the land issue. The land question got relegated and forgotten as the MDCs focussed more on political reforms. On the other hand, ZANU PF has also been conspicuously silent about the article V. Jonathan Oshupeng Maseng observations may provide some insight:

• Zanu PF is opposed to conducting a transparent and comprehensive land audit. This means the party continues to undermine and violate the GPA provisions – in this case article 5[57], particularly clause 5.9. (a), which states that parties agree to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non partisan land audit, during the tenure of the parliament of Zimbabwe, for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownership.

• However within the midst of the silence on article v, land reform (grabbing) has been continuing despite being officially declared over with the Save Conservancy saga being the latest and most popular. This pitted ZANU PF versus ZANU PF, with local communities and some German investors caught in between. Civil Society has also been conspicuously silent on the need for implementation of article V.

7.3 Effects On Democratisation

The prevailing silence on Article V has serious ramifications for democratisation, for there is potential for the creation of a shadow state within a state. William Reno argues that shadow states operate and survive on the basis of undermining the official state structures, thus sustaining themselves. Land grabbing has an insidious influence on society that promotes patronage and violence as legitimate vehicles to acquire wealth. This is an anathema to democracy.

Joseph Chinotimba, one of the notorious Zanu pf members who invaded the Save Conservancy

7.4 Barometer Indicator Scorecard
Barometer Score Card Code: Green - High Implementation Score; Orange - Medium Implementation Score; Red – Low Implementation Score


Transparent and non-partisan land audit not yet carried out Ill-defined and partisan land acquisition still being practised Lawless acquisition of state land designated for economic and tourism activity; still prevalent


7.5 Possible Scenarios

The silence on Article V indirectly endorses and legitimises the argument that the 2000 land reform is irreversible and final. It is an implicit admission by the IG partners that Article V ceases to be an issue as well as outstanding. It may mark a point of convergence between ZANU PF and the MDCs.

However, this has the potential impact of failing to address questions of insecurity amongst farmers and weak land governance institutions around issues of land. In most particular it endorses multiple farm ownership and encourages land grabbing by the political elite.

This fits largely into Cabal and Dale’s instrumentalisation of political disorder as the elite is involved in primitive accumulation. Therefore, the ‘chaos’ seen in the Save Conservancy is ‘not a stupid thing’ but a well calculated move by the political elite to accumulate wealth in the name of indigenisation and land reform.

This has far reaching effects of undermining efforts to economically revive the country and spiral to other sectors of the economy. A case in point has been the mushrooming of vigilante and militia groups in urban economic spaces such as commuter omnibus ranks and informal economies.

7.6 Key Recommendations

• Civil society must pressure the government to carry a transparent land audit subsequently followed by tenure security reform.
• Political parties in the inclusive government must re-flag Article V as an outstanding issue.
• SADC must broaden its scope to pressure for implementation of Article V as the insidious effect of chaos and disorder in the land sector will impact negatively on the reforms.


• Global Political Agreement. ``
• Global Political Agreement, Article V, 5.9 (a), (b) and (f)
• See, the list of outstanding issues on, Prime Minister Tsvangirayi’s Statement on Outstanding GPA Issues, 
• Jonathan Oshupeng Maseng, Platform for Political Battles or for Pursuit of Socio-Economic Development? Pambazuka News, 2010-07-08, Issue 489
• William Reno, (1998). Warlord Politics and African States, Lynne Rienner Publishers, USA