Few years after being allocated land during the land reform program, some Zimbabweans are now being told off by the same government, they are told to pave way for commercial farmers.

In Beatrice, reports are that people are being ordered to get off the land despite having offer letters.

Freelance journalist, Sharon Mazingaizo, who was on the ground likened the development a silent war:

“They is a silent ‘war’ going on Zimbabwe, and we haven’t fully grasp it. Its effects are multigenerational, its the repossession and reallocation of farm land.

“Such a traumatic day… Spend the day with black farmers in Beatrice who are having their land repossessed. The black farmers benefitted from Zimbabwe land reform, but they have been told to get off the land, the land will be reallocated to commercial farmers.”

Commenting on the development former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere said this is shocking but expected when policy is for personal wealth accumulation:

“Is that real? Please elaborate what exactly is happening to the farmers in Beatrice! Here lies the danger of appointing people without politics or a constituency as Ministers.

“Shocking behaviour, but it’s to be expected when a policy is for personal wealth accumulation.”

Apparently, reports are that the same is happening in Gutu, Masvingo with the matter spilling into the courts as noted by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who are handling some of the cases.

The Zimbabwean government recently launched a blitz on land barons and illegal occupiers, with the state saying the move is not meant to punish citizens.

The government expressed concern over people who are settling themselves illegally on urban and rural agricultural State land and others who are illegally selling the land, but reiterated that the operation targeting land barons is not aimed at punishing citizens.

Further, government says it is concerned over attempts to tarnish its image by those “bent on inciting hatred and despondency”, through circulating videos of burning houses that are from as far back as 2018.

This was revealed in a joint statement released last night by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka, Local Government and Public Works Minister Winston Chitando, Acting Minister for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Ziyambi Ziyambi and National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe.

The ministers said the Government successfully implemented the Land Reform Programme from 2000, culminating in the settling of thousands of households on A1 and A2 farms.

The farmers are contributing to the success of the agro-policy and food self-sufficiency of the country, with several productivity records for maize, tobacco and wheat shattered, especially since the coming of the Second Republic in November 2017.

In the statement, the ministers said in terms of the Land Commission Act and the gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act, it is illegal to occupy rural State land without lawful authority in the form of an offer letter, permit or a lease.

They added that it is also illegal for any person who is not authorised by central or local government to sell, lease or offer a lease with an option to purchase State land or council land.

“Government’s position has been consistently clear that there has to be an orderly and legal settlement on the land,” reads the statement. “However, it has been noted with concern that there are people who are settling themselves illegally on urban land as well as rural agricultural State land and others who are illegally selling the same.”

Realising the prevalence of cases where people were illegally resettling themselves on State or council land, Minister Masuka issued statements on November 28 last year and January 3 this year, advising the nation that State land was not for sale and applicants should follow correct procedures to be allocated land.