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Zimbabwe: University Says Time to Audit the Land-Grab Exercise

The Midlands State University Faculty of Arts is organising a conference on land reform where papers on the agrarian exercise including re-audit of the programme will be presented, the higher learning institution has said.

According to MSU, since the occupation of white owned farms in 2000 by blacks there is now need for a scholarly re-audit of the land reform process.

"The proposed "Beyond" the Land Reform in Zimbabwe Conference seeks to present the latest research and debates on developments following the country's radical re-configurations of its land and agrarian questions," MSU said in a statement.

"The focus is on the challenges, successes, predictions and discourses that have ensued from the program in light of the multifaceted changes obtaining in Southern Africa and beyond. The conference, therefore, attracts presentations from multiple fields in the humanities and social sciences and allows for inter and multi-disciplinary conversations."

Presentations will be on various themes on the land reform including livelihoods, migration, emerging politics of land and reform in Southern Africa, recent social histories of resettled lands, land reform history lessons for Southern Africa, the historical character of land reform in Zimbabwe, public-private ownership, command agriculture conflicts among the new farmers among other topics.

MSU said it intends to publish a special journal or book based on the conference papers.

Critics, however, argue that the land reform, which saw the violent seizure of prime land from whites, destroyed commercial agriculture which used to be the backbone of the economy.

President Robert Mugabe's government however insists they were correcting a historical wrong where white settlers seized prime land from blacks more than a century ago.

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